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Researchers to test potential target in lung cancer

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Researchers to test potential target in lung cancer

Source: (cancerfacts.com)

Friday, July 15, 2005

LOS ANGELES – July 15, 2005 – Lung cancer tumors produce a protein that stimulates certain immune system cells that control the body's main defense against abnormal cells, a new study shows, and a common anti-immflamatory drug already FDA-approved for chronic pain relief acts to suppress the protein.

Led by Dr. Steven Dubinett, director of the Lung Cancer Research Program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, researchers showed for the first time that the protein PGE2, which is produced normally by epithelial cells is overproduced in lung tumors, stimulating the growth and function of T-regulatory cells. The result blunts the activity of T cells, which are the body's primary defense against abnormal cells, such as cancer.

"We know that COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex, and Vioxx decrease PGE2, so when we discovered that PGE2 was fueling the T-regulatory cells, we knew we had a therapy we could test," said Dubinett, who is also a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine and director of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in lung cancer. "This discovery opens up the possibility that we could utilize relatively non-toxic drugs to augment immune responses in cancer patients."

The COX-2 inhibitors could be given with chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs to help boost immune function in patients and help them to better fight cancer, Dubinett said. The study appears in the July 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology.

Dubinett and his research team had hypothesized that PGE2 might be involved in suppression of the immune system. They first tested the theory in animal models and found that PGE2 was fueling the growth and function of the T-regulatory cells. Using Celebrex, researchers were able to decrease the number and function of T-regulatory cells by blocking PGE2.

In the current study, Dubinett and his team validated the animal results in human cancer cell lines in the laboratory. Again, administration of Celebrex decreased the number and function of T-regulatory cells, providing a boost to the immune system.

"Our data indicate that regulation of PGE2 production may in turn modulate T-regulatory cell development and function," the study states. "These findings suggest new therapeutic strategies targeting PGE2 in the prevention and treatment of cancer."

The next step is to launch a pilot study in patients. Led by Dr. Karen Reckamp the study will recruit 24 patients with advanced lung cancer to participate in the study. Patients would take a COX-2 inhibitor for a week so researchers can study the drug's affect on the T-regulatory cells. Patients would give blood before taking Celebrex and after the week-long course of therapy, Reckamp said, giving researchers a clue as to whether the drug will function in humans the way it has in cell and animal models.

"If this research holds true in patients, it could provide a new avenue for using this drug in combination with other therapies to fight lung cancer," he said.

For more information on the study, call 310-825-5688.

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Thanks, just found some info on this at Vanderbilt site and SPORE and it helps to see it somewhere else as my brain takes a while to understand what they are talking about.

We have taken to renaming out cats some of the weird drug names just to familiarize ourselvse with this stuff. My little female likes being called Gemzar, she thinks she is a wizard.

thanks again rich


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