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Heart Hormones Beat Back Cancers in Mice
Date:2/28/2008

One hormone cured 80 percent of pancreatic cancers, two-thirds of breast cancers, researcher says

THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- New research offers early evidence that hormones produced by the heart to control both blood pressure and volume could be harnessed to treat -- and possibly cure -- a wide range of cancers.

Following a month of intravenous treatment with any of four human cardiac peptide hormones, mice engineered to develop human pancreatic and breast cancer experienced dramatic results: On average, 54 percent of those with breast cancer and 37 percent of those with pancreatic cancer were cured, without tumor recurrence or treatment side effects.

Even tumor shrinkage among non-cured mice was striking, with size reductions of 90-plus percent. And a more detailed analysis, hormone-by-hormone, revealed even stronger anti-cancer properties among certain hormones. In such best-case scenarios, the most effective hormones provoked full tumor elimination -- without surgery, chemotherapy or any other additional treatment -- in two-thirds of the mice with breast cancer and 80 percent of the mice with pancreatic cancer.

"This raises hope for turning cancer -- even when not fully cured -- into a chronic disease," said study author Dr. David L. Vesely, director of the department of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida's Cardiac Hormone Center, in Tampa.

Vesely is scheduled to present his findings April 9 at the Experimental Biology annual conference in San Diego. The findings were originally published in the journal in vivo last year.

"For 350 years, the heart has been thought of simply as a pump," Vesely said. "But we now know it makes hormones that lower your blood pressure and get rid of salt and water. So, first we took four of them that all come from the same gene, and looked at them in laboratory cell cultures, and found that they essentially
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