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Discoveries point to more powerful cancer treatments, fewer side effects
Date:2/27/2014

soned by chemo and radiation.

Ryazanov says removing the enzyme would make those healthy cells stronger, to the point where they would survive cancer therapy, and that, in turn, would eliminate the side effects.

How would healthy cells survive cancer treatment while malignant cells would not? Ryazanov explains that tumors grow and cancer spreads when malignant cells divide and duplicate. Chemo and radiation are specifically designed to block cell division, and Ryazanov says removing the enzyme eEF2K actually makes the cancer cells more vulnerable to the treatment. By contrast, as long as healthy cells are strong enough to resist being poisoned, the cancer therapies won't hurt them.

In 2008, Ryazanov founded Longevica Pharmaceuticals, a company whose mission is to perfect medications designed to eliminate the enzyme and improve the performance of chemo and radiation. Animal testing is already underway, and Ryazanov hopes that his new findings will speed the day when medications that pass those tests can be tried in people. He even predicts that taking such a drug may be as easy as swallowing a pill.

Ryazanov says there is a nice logic to the research and drug development that have become his life's work because the cancer therapies he wants to enhance already exist and are known to work. Making chemo and radiation less toxic, he says, can make those therapies dramatically more effective in the relatively near future, while other cutting-edge approaches to cancer treatment might need far more time to prove their ultimate worth.


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Contact: Rob Forman
robert.forman@rutgers.edu
973-972-7276
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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