Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arthritis drug could help beat melanoma skin cancer, study finds

Date:
March 24, 2011
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
A breakthrough discovery promises an effective new treatment for one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Researchers found that leflunomide -- a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis -- also inhibits the growth of malignant melanoma.

A breakthrough discovery by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Children's Hospital Boston promises an effective new treatment for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Related Articles


Reporting in the March 24 edition (front cover story) of the journal Nature, the researchers found that leflunomide -- a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis -- also inhibits the growth of malignant melanoma.

Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment cells in our skin. It is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and, unlike most other cancers, incidence of the disease is increasing. More than 10,000 patients in the UK are diagnosed with melanoma each year. If caught early, surgery can be used to safely remove the tumour but the chances of survival for patients whose tumour is already spreading are very low. Around 2000 people a year in the UK die from malignant melanoma because the cancer has returned after being removed surgically.

UEA scientists Dr Grant Wheeler and Dr Matt Tomlinson conducted a rigorous screen of thousands of compounds, looking for those that affect the development of pigment cells in tadpoles. They identified a number of compounds that affected pigment cell development and have now shown with their US collaborators at Children's Hospital Boston that leflunomide significantly restricts tumour growth in mouse models.

And when leflunomide is used in combination with PLX4720, a promising new melanoma therapy currently undergoing clinical trials, the effect was even more powerful -- leading to almost complete block of tumour growth.

The next stage is for clinical trials to be conducted into the use of leflunomide to fight melanoma. Because leflunomide is already licensed to treat arthritis, this process should be faster than usual and a new treatment for melanoma could be available within around five years.

"This is a really exciting discovery -- making use of an existing drug specifically to target melanoma," said Dr Grant Wheeler, of UEA's School of Biological Sciences.

"Deaths from melanoma skin cancer are increasing and there is a desparate need for new, more effective treatments. We are very optimistic that this research will lead to novel treatments for melanoma tumours which, working alongside other therapies, will help to stop them progressing."

The novel work, which was partly funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), highlights the strength of carrying out large screens of compounds in developmental model systems such as the Xenopus tadpole used at UEA and the zebrafish used at Childrens Hospital Boston. The hope is that this approach will lead to the discovery of further compounds to treat different diseases in the future.

Lead author Dr Richard White of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, said: "Cancer is a disease not only of genetic mutations, but also one determined by the identity of the cell in which the tumor arises. By studying cancer development in zebrafish and frogs, we gain a unique insight into the very earliest changes that occur in those cells."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard Mark White, Jennifer Cech, Sutheera Ratanasirintrawoot, Charles Y. Lin, Peter B. Rahl, Christopher J. Burke, Erin Langdon, Matthew L. Tomlinson, Jack Mosher, Charles Kaufman, Frank Chen, Hannah K. Long, Martin Kramer, Sumon Datta, Donna Neuberg, Scott Granter, Richard A. Young, Sean Morrison, Grant N. Wheeler, Leonard I. Zon. DHODH modulates transcriptional elongation in the neural crest and melanoma. Nature, 2011; 471 (7339): 518 DOI: 10.1038/nature09882

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Arthritis drug could help beat melanoma skin cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110323141838.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2011, March 24). Arthritis drug could help beat melanoma skin cancer, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110323141838.htm
University of East Anglia. "Arthritis drug could help beat melanoma skin cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110323141838.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins