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A fresh look at existing therapies: Researchers explore ways to teach approved drugs new tricks
Date:10/24/2007

SAN FRANCISCO Although all cancers are not alike, most share common causes, whether it is the result of a genetic mutation or faulty biochemical signaling pathway. For that reason, drugs developed specifically for one disease might have an impact on many others. Increasingly, researchers are discovering ways of combining new and existing drugs to fight cancer broadening the targets of already-approved targeted therapeutics.

Today at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, researchers present the results of some of these investigations, whether it is finding a new use for the immunosuppressant rapamycin or adapting the use of approved antibodies to reach the same targets within different cancers.

Combination of CP-751871, a human monoclonal antibody against the IGF-1 receptor, with rapamycin results in a highly effective therapy for xenografts derived from childhood sarcomas: Abstract C172.

Researchers at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, have discovered that an engineered antibody, in combination with rapamycin, may offer treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and Ewings sarcoma -- three rare childhood cancers. The antibody, called CP-751871, is currently in a Phase III trial by its developer, Pfizer, Inc., while rapamycin, an approved immunosuppressant, is also under study for its anti-cancer properties.

Combined, the researchers believe, the two therapeutics act in a way that helps to promote apoptosis, a series of internal signals within a cell that cause its self-destruction. CP-751871 binds to and thereby blocks the action of a cell surface protein called insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R), which research has shown to be a part of a process that limits apoptosis. Rapamycin has been shown to inhibit mTOR, a protein involved in regulation of cell growth, proliferation and survival. There is increasing evidence that activation of
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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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