Cisplatin is a powerful chemotherapy drug that is one of the only treatments that the FDA has approved for use in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.
The drug kills mesothelioma cells by damaging their DNA. Though it has significant side effects, including toxicity to the liver, kidneys and nervous system, it has proven to be useful for the treatment of the rare, asbestos-related cancer, as well as ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, and head and neck cancers.
Now, a group of scientists from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill believe that they have found that by administering the drug at a particular time of day, its effectiveness is able to be boosted and patient results are improved.
The North Carolina study of the mesothelioma drug was published in the journal PNAS, and is believed to be the first to map DNA repair in a genome for 24 hours following the medication having been administered. The scientists tracked the repair that occurred in a mouse genome, looking at specific genes and when repair took place.
According to senior study author Aziz Sancar, a Nobel Prize winning professor of biochemistry and biophysics, “We found that there are close to 2,000 genes, different parts of which are repaired at different times of day, depending on the gene.”
In the mouse model, the majority of DNA repair in healthy tissues took place before dawn and before dusk.
“Our work suggests it could be best to give Cisplatin to patients when their normal cell DNA repair is at its zenith,” Sancar said
Sancer believes that the more that is known about how DNA repair and biological clocks work together, the more effective cancer treatment can be.
Though other studies have looked at the impact of timing, Professor Sancar thinks that they took the wrong approach, with physicians administering drugs at different times of day and noting which times produced the best result.
Sancar also believes that instead the approach should look at DNA repair, which would allow chemotherapy to be optimized by slowing down cancer while reducing its side effects.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you would like to know more about the inroads that are being made in its treatment, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help.
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