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Clinical trials designed to block autophagy in multiple cancers show promise
Date:5/22/2014

PHILADELPHIA In the largest group of results to date, researchers from Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center and other institutions have shown in clinical trials that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) blocked autophagy in a host of aggressive cancersglioblastoma, melanoma, lymphoma and myeloma, renal and colon cancersand in some cases helped stabilize disease. Autophagyan essential process cancer cells need to fuel their growthis a key troublemaker spurring tumor growth. Block this pathway, many preclinical studies suggest, and anti-cancer agents such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy will be able to do their job better.

Results of six trialsfive in humans (with over 200 patients) and one in dogsare all reported in the May online issue of Autophagy, and will be presented at the Keystone Symposia on Autophagy in Austin, Texas, on Monday, May 26, by author Ravi K. Amaravadi, MD, assistant professor of Medicine in the division of Hematology/Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine and co-leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Program at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, who was the principal investigator on four of the six trials, which included a multi-disciplinary team of investigators at Penn Medicine and other institutions treating a wide range of cancers.

"There are currently over 40 clinical trials involving HCQ as a potential autophagy inhibitor worldwide, and the results of our trials are among the first to be published," said Amaravadi. "These studies provide promising evidence that autophagy blockade can be achieved, and that combining auto
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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