Navigation Links
Arthritis drug could help beat melanoma skin cancer

A breakthrough discovery by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Children's Hospital Boston promises an effective new treatment for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Reporting in the March 24 edition (front cover story) of the journal Nature, the researchers found that leflunomide - a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis also inhibits the growth of malignant melanoma.

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells in our skin. It is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and, unlike most other cancers, incidence of the disease is increasing. More than 10,000 patients in the UK are diagnosed with melanoma each year. If caught early, surgery can be used to safely remove the tumour but the chances of survival for patients whose tumour is already spreading are very low. Around 2000 people a year in the UK die from malignant melanoma because the cancer has returned after being removed surgically.

UEA scientists Dr Grant Wheeler and Dr Matt Tomlinson conducted a rigorous screen of thousands of compounds, looking for those that affect the development of pigment cells in tadpoles. (See: They identified a number of compounds that affected pigment cell development and have now shown with their US collaborators at Children's Hospital Boston that leflunomide significantly restricts tumour growth in mouse models.

And when leflunomide is used in combination with PLX4720, a promising new melanoma therapy currently undergoing clinical trials, the effect was even more powerful leading to almost complete block of tumour growth.

The next stage is for clinical trials to be conducted into the use of leflunomide to fight melanoma. Because leflunomide is already licensed to treat arthritis, this process should be faster than usual and a new treatment for melanoma could be available within around five years.

"This is a really exciting discovery making use of an existing drug specifically to target melanoma," said Dr Grant Wheeler, of UEA's School of Biological Sciences.

"Deaths from melanoma skin cancer are increasing and there is a desparate need for new, more effective treatments. We are very optimistic that this research will lead to novel treatments for melanoma tumours which, working alongside other therapies, will help to stop them progressing."

The novel work, which was partly funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), highlights the strength of carrying out large screens of compounds in developmental model systems such as the Xenopus tadpole used at UEA and the zebrafish used at Childrens Hospital Boston. The hope is that this approach will lead to the discovery of further compounds to treat different diseases in the future.

Lead author Dr Richard White of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, said: "Cancer is a disease not only of genetic mutations, but also one determined by the identity of the cell in which the tumor arises. By studying cancer development in zebrafish and frogs, we gain a unique insight into the very earliest changes that occur in those cells."


Contact: Simon Dunford
University of East Anglia

Related biology technology :

1. Alder Biopharmaceuticals Announces That Data From Multiple Studies of ALD518 (BMS945429), an Investigational Antibody Therapeutic in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients, to be Presented at Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology
2. Tarsa Therapeutics and Unigene Present Preclinical Data Suggesting Calcitonin May Have Utility in Combination Therapy for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis
3. Data Published Today Reveal That Novel Oral Therapy Fostamatinib Demonstrates Positive Response in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
4. Lubricating the knee cartilage after ACL injury may prevent osteoarthritis
5. Viron reports positive proof of concept results in arthritis for its VT-346 anti-TNF therapeutic
6. Viron granted U.S. Patents for Organ Transplant and Arthritis Drug Candidates
7. Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Want Pain-Free Days at Christmas
8. New Technology Now Available In Canada For Osteoarthritis
9. New SIMPONI(TM) Data Show Inhibition of Joint Damage in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis
10. New SIMPONI(TM) Data Show Long-Term Efficacy in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis
11. Lubris, Biomodels Report on Potential New Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. ... Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will ... Conference in New York . ... visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the ... replay of the presentation will be available on the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today ... following conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... International Society for Pharmaceutical ... the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference took ... hosted the largest number of attendees in more than a decade. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015   Growing need for low-cost, easy ... been paving the way for use of biochemical ... analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense ... in medical applications, however, their adoption is increasing ... continuous emphasis on improving product quality and growing ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... biometrics that helps to identify and verify the ... is considered as the secure and accurate method ... of a particular individual because each individual,s signature ... results especially when dynamic signature of an individual ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... --> --> ... Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global Industry ... 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to reach ... market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of ... Rising security needs among customers at homes, the emergence ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):