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Daisies lead scientists down path to new leukemia drug
Date:10/2/2007

A new, easily ingested form of a compound that has already shown it can attack the roots of leukemia in laboratory studies is moving into human clinical trials, according to a new article by University of Rochester investigators in the journal, Blood.

The Rochester team has been leading the investigation of this promising therapy on the deadly blood cancer for nearly five years. And to bring it from a laboratory concept to patient studies in that time is very fast progress in the drug development world, said Craig T. Jordan, Ph.D., senior author of the Blood article and director of Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Clinical trials are expected to begin in England by the end of 2007. Investigators expect to initially enroll about a dozen adult volunteers whove been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or other types of blood or lymph cancers, Jordan said.

Under development is dimethylamino-parthenolide (DMAPT), a form of parthenolide (PTL) that is derived from a daisy-like plant known as feverfew or bachelors button. DMAPT is a water-soluble agent that scientists believe will selectively target leukemia at the stem-cell level, where the malignancy is born. This is significant because standard chemotherapy does not strike deep enough to kill cancer at the roots, thus resulting in relapses. Even the most progressive new therapies, such as Gleevec, are effective only to a degree because they do not reach the root of the cancer.

DMAPT appears to be unique. Its mechanism of action is to boost the cancer cells reactive oxygen species which is like pushing the stress level of the cell over the edge to the point where the cell can no long protect itself and dies, said Monica L. Guzman, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the DMAPT project and a senior instructor at the University of Rochester M
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Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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