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New old drug fights colon cancer
Date:10/13/2009

A new Tel Aviv University drug, based on an older generation antibiotic, may provide doctors with an effective and innovative method of treating colon cancer in both its incipient and full-blown stages ― and minimize the need for painful, uncomfortable colonoscopies and surgical polyp removal.

Dr. Rina Rosin-Arbesfeld of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine has shown in preclinical studies that a common antibiotic can suppress the growth of colon cancer polyps in mice. Her aim is to reformulate the drug for use as a preventative therapy ― or, in stronger doses, in combination with chemotherapy and radiation to fight existing cancers until they're gone. The current formulation reduced the size of the polyps in about 80% of the mice she studied, and on average the animals lived 30% longer than those who were not given the antibiotic.

"My experience shows that colon cancer is particularly aggressive," says Dr. Rosin-Arbesfeld. "Our new drug may be able to slow down polyp growth so that it never manifests to full-blown colon cancer." She is currently preparing the results of her recent study for an upcoming issue of the journal Gut.

Taking genes to the repair shop

The antibiotic acts in a genetic fashion. In diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF) and muscular dystrophy, antibiotics from the aminiglycoside family can repair damaged or mutated DNA. For her new study, Dr. Rosin-Arbesfeld looked at a closely-related but less toxic family of antibiotics from the Macrolide family that achieves the same therapeutic results.

Dr. Rosin-Arbesfeld focused on a gene associated with colorectal cancer, the APC gene, and noticed that the mutation types in colorectal cancer are similar to those in the CF gene. Noting that old generation antibiotics are effective in fighting CF, she studied its effects on colon cancer as well. She found that the drug partially repaired faulty genes in mice with colon cancer. Benefits from u
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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