Cancer News Network

Cancer Awareness , Developments in Cancer Research and News on Cancer

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

An accidental discovery may lead to the development of a new cancer drug Katherine Schaefer, Lawrence Saubermann and researchers believe they have discovered by chance a new way to fight colorectal cancer, and potentially cancers of the esophagus, liver and skin.

Early work shows that a group of compounds called Peroxisome_proliferator-activated_receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma) inhibitors may have an unexpected cancer-fighting effect, according to research published in the journal International Cancer Research. Furthermore, the new studies suggest that PPAR-gamma inhibitors act through some of the same mechanisms as the blockbuster chemotherapy Taxol, but with key differences.

While studying whether compounds known to affect PPAR-gamma could play a role in inflammatory bowel diseases, a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that medium-to-high doses of PPAR-gamma inhibitor killed colorectal cancer cell lines. Despite the compound's class name, the anti-cancer effect has nothing to do with the ability of the compounds to inhibit PPAR-gamma function. Researchers believe that PPAR-gamma inhibitors instead attack the "skeletons" of cancer cells that enable them to reproduce, grow and spread. Better solutions are needed because, according to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer remains the no. 2 cause of cancer de ath for men, and the no. 3 cause of cancer death for women.

"This is the first observation of a small molecule dramatically reducing levels of the proteins called tubulins, the building blocks of cancer cell skeletons," said Katherine L. Schaefer, Ph.D., a research assistant professor within the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and first author of the paper.

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