MD Anderson, Houston Methodist scientists detect new ovarian cancer target
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Researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have found a prescription drug, Calcitriol, approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of calcium deficiency and kidney diseases, may increase the likelihood of surviving ovarian cancer.

Their preclinical research, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, integrated computational modeling and biology experiments in cell lines and mouse models to pinpoint a molecular pathway between malignant cells and supportive cells, called fibroblasts, associated with poor prognosis for patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, the most common and difficult form of the disease.

A review of potential drugs by Houston Methodist researchers indicated that a synthetic and active form of a vitamin D analog called Calcitriol might break up molecular communication between cancer cells and fibroblasts, a finding confirmed in mouse models by MD Anderson researchers.

This study opens a new potential avenue for treating ovarian cancer. Since Calcitriol is an FDA-approved drug, no additional research is needed before the drug can advance to human clinical trials for ovarian cancer. The researchers are working to address regulatory procedures, planning and funding required to open a clinical trial.

“Targeting cancer cells might not be the only

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