Researchers from the University of Hong Kong have just revealed that by using an enzyme inhibitor called DFMO on mice infected with malignant pleural mesothelioma, they were able to extend the animals’ lifespan.
Inhibiting enzyme stops the production of polyamine
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study’s authors indicated that DFMO seems to stop the production of polyamines in mesothelioma cells. Polyamines are found in all cells, and have been cited as one possible reason why the rare asbestos-related cancer is able to grow and spread so quickly, as mesothelioma tumors produce an enzyme that accelerates polyamine levels. The researchers found that after DFMO was administered, the cancerous cells stopped proliferating, and believe it is because the substance stops the enzyme’s action.
The researchers conducted two different experiments to determine DMFO’s impact on mesothelioma: in the first they gave the substance to mice, in water, for a week prior to injecting them with mesothelioma cells. In the second they injected the animals with mesothelioma first, then gave them the DFMO in water after the cells had grown to a specific size.
Two different applications of DMFO yield positive results
In analyzing the mesothelioma tumors in the animals, the researchers found that DMFO provided longer median survival rates for both groups, with 43% of the mice considered long-term survivors. DMFO was first developed nearly 50 years ago, and is not without its risks. It has been determined to cause hearing loss when given at high levels, though at lower dosages it has been shown to be safe. Though initial studies of its impact on cancer were disappointing, more recent research has revealed that it is most effective when used in cancers that are a result of exposure to carcinogenic material. Malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.
With each new discovery by cancer researchers, mesothelioma victims have a bit more hope that a cure will be found. If you need information on any of the available treatments or resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.