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Cancer drug shows promise against graft vs. host disease
Date:7/10/2008

ternal medicine at the U-M Medical School. "The mechanism we have identified in graft-versus-host disease may be involved in autoimmune diseases as well."

The study appears in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Context:

Bone marrow stem cell transplants are most commonly used to treat leukemia and lymphoma. By replenishing depleted blood cells, the transplants allow higher doses of chemotherapy to more effectively get rid of cancer cells.

But as many as half of bone marrow transplant recipients develop acute or chronic symptoms of graft-versus-host disease, which can affect the skin, liver and gastrointestinal tract. Reddy calls the disease "the single biggest barrier to bone marrow transplant."

The study suggests a novel way to treat graft-versus-host disease with an already available drug that is stirring considerable interest as an anti-cancer agent. The FDA approved SAHA, marketed under the name Vorinostat, as a treatment for one kind of lymphoma in 2006 and for leukemia in 2007. SAHA is being used off label for other cancers, including lung, brain and colon cancer.

The U-M study adds to a growing body of research suggesting HDAC inhibitors also may be useful tools to reign in misguided immune responses. Researchers elsewhere have recently shown that HDAC inhibitors have been beneficial in animal studies of lupus and inflammatory bowel disease. Other studies suggest the drugs could be useful in regulating the immune response in heart and islet cell transplants.

Research details:

The U-M researchers studied the responses of immune system dendritic cells in mice given SAHA and ITF 2357, another new HDAC inhibitor. Dendritic cells are important immune system cells whose varied roles are beginning to be fully understood.

The scientists looked at the two HDAC inhibitors' effects on mouse and human dendritic cells in culture. They found that as they su
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Contact: Anne Rueter
arueter@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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