Scientists find new therapy to treat childhood cancer

Canberra [Australia]May 16 (ANI): Through the study published in the international journal Clinical Cancer Research, scientists at the Children’s Cancer Institute have described a new combination of therapies that appear to be highly effective against high-risk neuroblastoma and other aggressive cancers in children.

Up to half of all cases of newly diagnosed neuroblastoma in children are at ‘high risk’, meaning cancer grows aggressively and is difficult to treat. Despite intensive treatment, most children with the high-risk disease die within five years of diagnosis, while those who survive often have serious long-term health effects.

Professor Michelle Haber AM, a senior author of the paper and co-head of the Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics theme at Children’s Cancer Institute, said children diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma have less than a 50-50 survival rate. “That’s a devastating prognosis. We are absolutely committed to finding better ways to treat this disease and improve that survival rate.” The research focuses on two different types of therapies, both of which have been shown to be effective against high-risk neuroblastoma. in the laboratory. The first, CBL0137, is a substance called curaxin, structurally similar to antimalarial drugs.

The second is panobinostat, a new type of compound known as a histone deacetylase inhibitor. In the new study, the scientists tested whether the two therapies could work synergistically when used together, each enhancing the other’s anti-cancer effect.

The researchers found that the two compounds did indeed work well together and effectively inhibited the growth of cancer cells in culture, as well as in mice grown to develop human high-risk neuroblastoma.

As an added bonus, the therapies also worked in concert to enhance the body’s immune response to cancer, which is important as neuroblastoma immunotherapy is currently a challenge.

“In our experiments, we found that the combination of CBL0137 and panobinostat resulted in a marked growth suppression and an immune response that was tumor-specific,” said Professor Haber. “This is very encouraging because ideally you want a cancer treatment that specifically targets cancer cells and leaves healthy cells unharmed, reducing the problem of side effects.” Dr. Lin Xiao, joint lead author and research officer at the Institute’s Experimental Therapeutics Group added: “ When we used these two compounds together in mice with high-risk neuroblastoma, we saw complete and persistent tumor regression, with minimal adverse effects on the mice. Our results suggest that this combination could work well as a kind of immunotherapeutic approach. for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma. “Further research at the Children’s Cancer Institute has shown that this type of multimodal therapy is also effective against other high-risk childhood cancers, including some brain cancers. Together we hope that these results will lead to a new therapy for aggressive childhood cancers. (ANI)

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