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Anti Allergy Drugs Reduce Tumor Growth

Researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center suggest that the use of an anti allergy drug over the span of 40 years reduced the tumor growth in the// human pancreas and also resulted in improved effect of chemotherapy.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute issued on Dec.20 reported that a combination of chemotherapy and the drug cromolyn is three times more effective than just the administration of chemotherapy agent gemcitabine.

The finding may lead to a treatment advance for patients with pancreatic cancer, believed to be the most lethal of all cancers. More than 95 percent of patients diagnosed with the disease die from it, and half of those deaths occur in the first six months after diagnosis.

"Our goal is to offer longer life to these patients, and the combination of these two agents may well do that," says the study's lead author, Craig Logsdon, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Cancer Biology.

Logsdon is working with physicians at M. D. Anderson to prepare for a clinical trial. Although cromolyn is off patent and widely available, it has been used only as a topical agent (through an inhaler, nasal spray and eye drops), so the research team is studying how to deliver the drug internally.

"Cromolyn seems to reduce survival mechanisms in pancreatic cancer cells enough that when gemcitabine is added, the chemotherapy is more effective," Logsdon says. "This is good, because chemotherapy normally has very little effect in patients."

The JNCI study demonstrates in mouse models of human pancreatic cancer that the cromolyn-gemcitabine combination reduced cancer growth by 85 percent compared to control animals, Logsdon says. "Cromolyn used alone actually had a good effect on reduction of tumors compared to control animals, which surprised us," he adds. It reduced tumor growth by 70 percent, compared to growth reduction of 50 percent when gemcitabine was used as a single ag
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