Accidental fungus leads to promising cancer drug

By | July 1, 2008

A drug developed using nanotechnology and a fungus that contaminated a lab experiment may be broadly effective against a range of cancers, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.

The drug, called lodamin, was improved in one of the last experiments overseen by Dr. Judah Folkman, a cancer researcher who died in January. Folkman pioneered the idea of angiogenesis therapy — starving tumors by preventing them from growing blood supplies. Lodamin is an angiogenesis inhibitor that Folkman’s team has been working to perfect for 20 years. Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, his colleagues say they developed a formulation that works as a pill, without side-effects. They have licensed it to SynDevRx, Inc, ….

Tests in mice showed it worked against a range of tumors, including breast cancer, neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, brain tumors known as glioblastomas and uterine tumors. … “Using the oral route of administration, it first reaches the liver, making it especially efficient in preventing the development of liver metastasis in mice,” they wrote in their report. “Liver metastasis is very common in many tumor types and is often associated with a poor prognosis and survival rate,” they added.

‘ALMOST CLEAN’ LIVERS

“When I looked at the livers of the mice, the treated group was almost clean,” Benny said in a statement. “In the control group you couldn’t recognize the livers — they were a mass of tumors.”

The drug was known experimentally as TNP-470, and was originally isolated from a fungus called Aspergillus fumigatus fresenius. … Twenty days after being injected with cancer cells, four out of seven untreated mice had died, while all treated mice were still alive, Benny’s team reported. – yahoo

Leave a Reply