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Promise and Progress - Arsenic Part of Novel Treatment for Leukemia
Arsenic Part of Novel Treatment for Leukemia
Date: June 1, 2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 16, 2004
Chi V. Dang, M.D., Ph.D., has uncovered the reason arsenic has long been a successful treatment for certain types of leukemia and combined it with a second toxin to develop a new, more potent therapy. Dang and colleagues discovered that arsenic activates the same self-destruct mechanism in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells as a toxin called bryostatin found in coral-like marine organisms.
The research team tracked arsenic’s cancer-killing ability to an oxygen-producing enzyme complex called NADPH oxidase. “When normal white blood cells engulf invading bacteria, NADPH oxidase produces a big burst of bad oxygen species which they dump onto bacterium to kill it and, in the process, kill themselves,” explains Dang. He, Dr. Wen-Chien Chou and team found that in APL, arsenic triggers activation of NADPH oxidase and turns on the same self-destruction switch. But arsenic needs some help, according to Dang, and that’s where bryostatin comes in. “Even with arsenic treatment, much of the NADPH oxidase remains dormant in our system,” he says. However, bryostatin also activates the enzyme, and working in synergy the two toxins cause a big enough release of NADPH oxidase to kill off leukemia cells.
This research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.
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- Faces of Childhood Cancer
- Clinical Trial in the Spotlight
- A Fighting Chance
- A Champion of Pediatric Cancer Research
- One Physician's Quest for a Treatment for the Worst Kind of Pediatric Brain Tumor
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- Experimental Drug Being Tested for Acute Myeloid Leukemia
- 'Switched-Off' Genes May Put First Chink in Colon Cell's Anti-Tumor Armor
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- Eli Kahn
- Possible Interaction Identified Between Tamoxifen and Hot Flash Drug
- Premature Aging Gene Could Have Implications for New Cancer Therapies
- Something's Fishy in Cancer Research
- Angiogenesis Gene Linked to Boimarkers in Breast Cancer
- A Cure is More than the Eradication of Cancer
- Arsenic Part of Novel Treatment for Leukemia