A new drug combination featuring the widely-known impotence drug Viagra has been found to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment while protecting the heart from harm caused by a popular form of chemotherapy. With nearly half of all cancer survivors dying from other conditions than cancer, most notably cardiovascular disease, this new treatment is not only innovative but necessary.
A study published online in the journal Cancer Research details a dramatic increase in multiple myeloma cell death caused by a combination of the drugs obatoclax and flavopiridol. The researchers, led by Steven Grant, M.D., Shirley Carter Olsson and Sture Gordon Olsson Chair in Oncology Research, associate director for translational research, program co-leader and member of Developmental Therapeutics and member of the Cancer Cell Signaling program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, found that the two drugs worked together through different mechanisms to promote a form of cell suicide known as apoptosis.
Massey Cancer Center researchers have uncovered a new link between chronic inflammation and cancer. Although cancers don't always cause inflammation, chronic inflammation is known to help tumor cells grow. In an article published in the recent June issue of Nature, VCU Massey scientists Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., and Tomasz Kordula, Ph.D., and their co-authors examine how sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a lipid mediator in the blood that influences immune cell circulation, also regulates inflammation and cancer. They reported that S1P is a missing cofactor that is required for the activity of TRAF2, the key regulator of NF-kappaB, which acts as a master on-off switch in controlling inflammation and cancer.
A novel therapy in the early stages of development at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center shows promise in providing lasting protection against the progression of multiple myeloma following a stem cell transplant by making the cancer cells easier targets for the immune system.
VCU Massey Cancer Center continues to test new technology by ApoCell, Inc. that can detect circulating tumor cells (CTC) in a patient’s bloodstream. In April, Massey reported on a pilot study of the device in liver cancer patients, and now a new study demonstrates that the device can effectively collect CTCs in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.