Gentler Sarcoma Treatment may be at Hand

Sarcoma has potential new therapeutic agent in MK1775

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) One of the most common types of childhood cancer is sarcoma, which appears in the soft tissues of the body. About 10 percent of kids with cancer have sarcomas. Recent research has uncovered possible new ways to treat this disease.

Medical scientists have found a small molecule called MK1775 can attack sarcomas, paving the way for new  therapies for a disease that affects both children and adults.

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Currently, sarcoma is treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but the outcome of these highly toxic therapies are not especially positive, according to corresponding author Soner Altiok, M.D., Ph.D., of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. As a result, new ways to treat sarcomas are urgently needed, he says.

For this study, medical researchers from Moffitt's Experimental Therapeutics Program and the Sarcoma Program worked together to test MK1775's ability to inhibit Wee1, which they learned can lead to cancer cell death (apoptosis).

Dr. Altiok says his team was able to induce cell death in four sarcoma cell lines. This biological reversal was found to hold even in tumors that had genetic mutations. All of this is very promising and may represent a new approach in treating sarcomas, according to Dr. Altiok

dailyRx asked Dr. Altiok when such therapies may become available. "MK 1775 is at a very early stage of clinical development. There are only a few Phase I clinical trials with carcinoma patients and more clinical studies are needed to better determine its toxicities and optimal dose and schedules before it can be used in patients," Dr. Altiok said.

"In the sarcoma program at Moffitt we are continuing our preclinical research with MK1775 and hopefully, we will be able to open a clinical trial soon to make this drug available to sarcoma patients," he added.

Previous studies have shown that patients tolerate MK1775 well.

This research appeared in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

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Review Date: 
December 14, 2011
Last Updated:
December 14, 2011