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Approved lymphoma drug shows promise in early tests against bone cancer
Date:11/5/2009

A drug already approved for the treatment of lymphoma may also slow the growth of the most deadly bone cancer in children and teens, according to an early-stage study published online today in the International Journal of Cancer. The study drug, Bortezomib, was found to be effective against bone cancer in human cancer cell studies and in mice. While key experiments were in animals, the cancer studied closely resembled the human form and the drug has already been proven to be safe in human patients.

In the current study, researchers sought to use Bortezomib (Velcade) against osteosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that starts in bone, spreads quickly and responds poorly to current chemotherapies. The drug, a proteasome inhibitor developed by Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of a rare, aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2006 and for multiple myeloma in 2008.

"Our most clinically relevant finding is that a drug already proven safe and effective in treating the most common cancers of the blood may be equally effective in suppressing bone cancer," said Roman Eliseev, M.D., Ph.D., research assistant professor within the Center for Musculoskeletal Research and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, both within the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Bortezomib caused osteosarcoma cells to self destruct, and prevented their spread. While further studies are needed, our findings suggest that this drug may represent a new treatment option for a devastating disease and an effective complement to current chemotherapies."

Reason to Hope

Eliseev's lab and others have shown that a protein complex called Runx2 both blocks the growth of bone cancer cells and triggers a quality control mechanism that causes abnormal cells to self-destruct. For some reason, however, Runx2 levels are dramatically reduced in bone cancer cells.

In the current study, researche
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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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