American scientists managed to make cancer cells kill themselves, as reported in the article published in the scientific journal Molecular Pharmacology. They managed to achieve this result by synthesizing a drug on the basis of the existing anti-tumor drugs.
The scientists identified a substance that blocks the production of enzymes which are vital to for the growth and survival of the cancer cells. As explained by the oncologist Professor Paul Dent, one of the authors of the study, sorafenib has been approved by the Ministry of Health for the treatment of liver and kidney, and regorafenib – for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
The new method dramatically increased the speed of destruction of cancer cells. In addition, this approach has proven effective against cells with specific mutations, which may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
The results of the research showed that the combination therapy of this type suppresses possible ways of survival of tumor cells, causing them to a toxic effect, known as autophagy, and leads to their death. Autophagy is a protective mechanism in a result of which cells “digest” their own components in order to try to survive in stressful conditions.
The drug has proved to be effective in cancer of colon, kidney, liver, lung, breast and brain. Moreover, it did not show to have any devastating effects on the healthy cells.
In the near future, the scientists plan to conduct the first phase of clinical tests aimed at testing the safety of the combination therapy for the human body.