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Research Supported by Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation,Discovers Mode of Action of Arsenic-Based Drugs in Destroying,Cancer Cells

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 16, 2007 - Arsenic, a naturally occurring element, has been used in therapeutic compounds for over 2,000 years, and even now remains a venerable constituent of the traditional Chinese pharmacopeia.

Today, due in measure to the efforts of investigators supported by grants from the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation's (SWCRF) "Institute Without Walls," an arsenic derivative is being utilized in therapy for the treatment of certain types of acute leukemia.

In an important new development that holds promise for wider use of arsenic for treatment of other forms of cancer, the January 3, 2007 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of research describing a new mode of action of arsenite (a form of the metal arsenic) in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

The research, conducted by Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky, and his colleagues at Dartmouth Medical School, determined that arsenite selectively destroys APL cells. It was observed that arsenite causes a form of cell "suicide" in which digestive enzymes usually sequestered within the cancer cell are released into the cell at large.

Dr. Samuel Waxman, Founder and Scientific Director of SWCRF, notes "This discovery of a new mode of action of arsenic-based therapies establishes a new pathway that can lead to broader use of arsenic in developing therapies for treating other forms of cancer. It most certainly presents a new platform of knowledge that can stimulate new ideas that may ultimately increase the cure rate of APL to near 100%."

SWCRF provided grants supporting the research program led by Dr. Dmitrovsky, who is the Andrew G. Wallace Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Chairman, Pharmacology and Toxicology of Dartmouth Medical School, and also serves as Associate Scientific Director of SWCRF.

Arsenic and its derivatives are now part of the stand
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