Turning cancer cells back into normal cells
A new drug designed and synthesised by University of Salford scientists supported by Kidscan has helped to discover a way of allowing healthy cells to take charge of cancerous cells and stop them developing into tumours. This could provide a new approach to treating early-stage cancers. Researchers at Salford and the University of Manchester found that a special type of the chemicals known as ‘kinase inhibitors’ opened up communication channels on the surface of cells enabling healthy cells to ‘talk’ to the cancer cells and make them behave like normal healthy cells.
Effect of amino acids on response to drugs
A research project supported by Kidscan has shown that manipulation of the amino acid methionine in the blood can affect the proliferation of cancer cells. It was found that depletion of methionine made the cancer cells more resistant to the clinically used anticancer drugs cisplatinum and temozolamide indicating that modulation of methionine may be damaging when used in combination with these drugs.
Monitoring amino acid levels in patients undergoing treatment for A.L.L.
We have developed methods to monitor amino acid levels in the blood of patients undergoing treatment. This was part of a UK wide clinical study into improving response in patients undergoing treatment for A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia). Laboratory studies were carried out in parallel to determine how changes in amino acid levels similar to those seen in the patients affected response in cultured cancer cell lines.
Improved activity when combining drugs
We have demonstrated that combinations of the clinically used drugs methotrexate and temozolamide demonstrate synergistic effects when used in combination. Synergism is when the activity of the drugs when given together is greater than the sum of the activities of the individual drugs. This may have implications in treatment.
Development of novel treatments
Kidscan has supported studies that have identified new drugs that are effective in cancer cells which do not respond to currently used anti-cancer agents. We have also supported work on the design and evaluation of ‘magic bullet’ agents that are activated within the cancer cells to form drugs that are potent killers of cancer cells.