(RxWiki News) Cancer cells are extremely versatile and adaptable. They find ways to wiggle out of any attempts to restrain them. Researchers are working with the very mechanism that cancer uses to avoid death to develop a potentially powerful therapy for lymphoma.
A compound still under development seems to be effective in blocking a process cancer cells use to avoid death. The compound known as TL32711 (Birinapant) may be very useful in treating lymphoma.
"Find out about all the drugs available to treat your condition."
Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists presented their findings at the American Association for Cancer Research 2012 meeting.
Study author, Mitchell Smith, MD, PhD, director of Lymphoma Service at Fox Chase, says now is an "exciting time to be involved in lymphoma treatment and research."
Dr. Smith and his team worked with TL3271 and found that inhibits the process that inhibits cell death.
"TL32711 is like a double-negative. It inhibits the inhibitor, and therefore makes cells more sensitive to dying," he said.
In an effort to learn if the compound works better on some types of lymphomas, researchers added it to various lymphoma cells. Because combinations of compounds tend to be more powerful, another compound called TRAIL was added to some cells. TRAIL goes after tumor cells.
Some types of lymphoma were more responsive to TL32711. Follicular lymphoma and some kinds of diffuse large B cell lymphomas tended to be most vulnerable to the treatment, making cells more likely to die.
When TRAIL was added, the combination was even more effective at destroying lymphoma cells than either compound alone.
Dr. Smith notes that the cells didn't just keel over and die; they were killed by the compounds.
This was demonstrated by increased levels of caspases, proteins that appear just before cells die in a process that used to be called apoptosis.
"This result confirms that the cells are dying the way they should when you add these compounds," says Dr. Smith.
While the compound is not yet available in the clinic, clinical trials are already enrolling patients to study the effects TL32711.
It should be noted that research is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.