(dailyRx News) The last few decades have seen an incredible growth in the number and kinds of drugs used to treat cancer, including entirely new classes of drugs outside traditional chemotherapy.
A team of scientists recently published their findings, showing the intricate details of a molecular pathway found through their research, and identified several points that would stop a common cancer from growing.
Normally the next step of identifying and developing the right molecules would take most of a decade before clinical trials could begin, but in this case researchers found out that several drugs already in clinical testing fit the bill.
Michele Pagano from the New York School of Medicine was the lead investigator, and she found that a series of genes involved in inflammation and cancer development known as the nuclear factor kappa B was responsible for the immortality of cancer cells in lymphoma.
The series of laboratory experiments involved molecular techniques from the very cutting edge of biology, outlining a complex series of activations and relationships on a molecular level.
Dr. Pagano identified three key targets in this pathway, and by blocking any of the three proteins known in the scientific literature as GSK3, Fbxw7a and p100, multiple myeloma progression would be halted.
In a stroke of fortune, drugs are already in development targeting GSK3 in research focusing on Alzheimer's disease, and similar progress has been made with Fbxw7a, which will in all likelihood be given another name at a later date.
Researchers concluded on an optimistic note, considering the potential for using this research in another similar cancers.
"These new findings strongly suggest that by targeting this enzyme, we will kill multiple myeloma cells and other B-cell lymphomas," Dr. Pagano states. "And that, from a researcher's perspective, is a very exciting prospect."
The research was published in the journal Nature on March 4, 2012.
The authors of the study stated no financial conflict of interest.