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A More Effective Form Of Chemotherapy

Researchers have developed a drug that can manipulate the body’s signaling systems, triggering an attack and shutdown of deadly cancer cells.

The finding was published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The drug, called ZL105, is a compound based on the metal iridium. The study, by researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK, has found ZL105 could potentially replace currently used anticancer drugs. Those drugs become less effective over time, have a number of side effects and damage both healthy and cancerous cells.

 “Our drug pushes cancer cells…to slow and shut down, while normal cells can cope with its effects,” said University of Warwick researcher and study co-author Dr Isolda Romero-Canelon.

Preliminary data indicate that ZL105 may be ten times more effective in treating ovarian, colon, melanoma, renal, and some breast cancers.

The researchers plan to analyze the effectiveness of the drug on other cancers that are resistant to currently approved medicines or develop resistance after initial treatment.

Study co-author Professor Peter J. Sadler said, “Existing cancer treatments often become less effective after the first course, as cancer cells learn how they are being attacked. The drug we have developed …can attack cancer cells in multiple ways at the same time, so the cancer is less able to adapt to the treatment. This means the new drugs could be much more effective than existing treatments.”

“Platinum-based drugs are used in nearly 50% of all chemotherapeutic regimens, exert their activity by damaging DNA and cannot select between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, leading to a wide-range of side-effects from renal failure to…nausea and vomiting.

“In contrast, the new iridium-based drug is specifically designed not to attack DNA, but to have a novel mechanism of action, meaning that it could not only dramatically slow down and halt cancer growth, but also significantly reduce the side effects suffered by patients.” 

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