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Anticancer drug targets calcium.

A novel drug treatment seems to reduce tumor growth and may also dampen cancer's ability to spread to distant parts of the body, according to researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md.

Conventional anticancer drugs work by killing dividing cells. But chemotherapy doesn't always prevent a few malignant cells from breaking away from the primary tumor and getting into the bloodstream. These cells can travel to distant parts of the body, where they take root and create another cancer, a process called metastasis.

The steps in that deadly process involve calcium. Thus, Elise C. Kohn and her colleagues at NCI hypothesized that a drug that prevents cells from taking in calcium might help to prevent the growth and spread of tumors.

The NCI team developed an experimental drug called carboxyamido-triazole, or CAl. Preliminary results from a pilot trial of CAI appear promising, says Kohn, who described those findings last month at the ACS Science Writers Seminar.

She and her co-workers gave CAI to 13 people with a variety of advanced cancers. Eleven of the 13 patients showed no increase in tumor size during treatment, Kohn says. The researchers hope that CAI and other drugs like it may usher in a new era in cancer treatment-one in which physicians approach cancer as a chronic disease.
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Title Annotation:carboxyamino-triazole prevents cells from taking in calcium
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 17, 1993
Words:217
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