Gout Drug Colchicine Proves a Cancer
September 15, 2011 by Estella.
A new cancer drug based on the gout drug colchicine is proving to be a powerful cancer drug capable of quickly killing malignant tumors. The new drug, called ICT2588 for now, is being referred to as a "smart bomb" because it can directly target a tumor without harming surrounding healthy tissue.
Both the gout medication colchicine and the experimental ICT2588 are derived from the autumn crocus, or meadow saffron. Colchicine (brand name Colcrys) has been widely and successfully used to treat gouty arthritis for centuries. Colchicine was known to have the potential to fight cancer, but can be toxic at high doses. This experimental modified form is harmless to healthy tissue, but toxic to tumor blood vessels.
Scientists the University of Bradford in England found a way of keeping ICT2588 non-toxic until it comes into contact with a protein released by tumors, MMP1. Tumors release MMP to cut a path into surrounding tissue where they can develop new blood vessels. "Our novel delivery system uses the presence of this active MMP to activate the drug, which attacks and breaks down cancer blood vessels, destroying the tumor's lifeline," explains Professor Lawrence Patterson, head of research team that developed ICT2588.
"What is also novel about our approach is that we are effectively targeting the blood supply of the tumor," says Patterson, "If you can starve the tumor of that blood supply, then you can cut off its ability to grow and to move around the body."
ICT2588 was so successful in destroying breast, prostrate and bowel cancers in mice that over half the mice went into remission after just one treatment. There were no ill effects. Although ICT2588 has only been tested in animals so far, researchers are hoping to test it in humans within two years, and possibly even within 18 months. The drug is expected to be effective against all kinds of solid tumors.
Filed under: Cancer.
Tags: colchicine, gout drug colchicine, gout medication, brand name colcrys, gouty arthritis .
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