Two-pronged approach could curb many cases of lung cancer
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IMAGE: These two lung samples are from mice prone to develop Kras-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer. The lungs of mouse on the left are filled with tumors, as expected. The lung on… view more 

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Credit: Clare (He) Xu, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital

Non-small-cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. A new study suggests that about 1 in 4 cases, those driven by the KRAS oncogene, could be successfully treated with a combination of drugs that are already available clinically. The Boston Children’s Hospital study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

For more than three decades, scientists have tried, with little success, to target the mutant KRAS oncogene with drugs. So instead, some researchers have tried to target related biological pathways.

One such pathway involves insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which influence the uptake and release of nutrients and ultimately cell growth. But this pathway has not been definitively proven to fuel KRAS-driven lung cancers, and inhibitors of IGF-1 signaling have so far failed in clinical trials. In fact, a recent study in mice actually saw lung tumors become more aggressive. However, this study targeted

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