Scientists block the ‘siren call’ of aggressive cancers

Aggressive cancers like glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancers use a siren call that signals to the bone marrow to send over the resources needed for the tumours to thrive. A recent breakthrough has started testing a new treatment that aims at blocking the production of this chemical messenger called 20-HETE to slow or prevent the growth and spread of tumours.  Dr. Ali S. Arbab, leader of the Tumor Angiogenesis Initiative at the Georgia Cancer Center, has commented: “Our idea is that the most aggressive tumours have the same basic mechanisms of growth and spread. We have good evidence that blocking 20-HETE production is a good way to inhibit that growth.” Arbab and team have given the new inhibiting drug in alternation with temozolomide (a chemotherapy drug) for three to six weeks, and have found that the rodents with glioblastoma survive for at least six months before being euthanized as part of the study. This is a massive improvement on the survival without the new drug when the rats would have died after several weeks.

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