Blood Pressure Drug Boosts Chemotherapy Delivery in Mice

One reason chemotherapies fail is that blood vessels are collapsed in the middle of tumors, blocking the delivery of anticancer drugs. Now, new research suggests that a blood pressure drug called losartan may facilitate chemotherapy throughout tumors. Losartan decompresses tumor blood vessels, increasing blood flow and chemotherapy drug delivery in mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. To see if these findings will also hold for people, a phase II clinical trial of pancreatic cancer patients is underway. This trial is currently accepting new participants.


Blood Pressure Drug Boosts Chemotherapy Delivery in Mice

One reason chemotherapies fail is that blood vessels are collapsed in the middle of tumors, blocking the delivery of anticancer drugs. Now, new research suggests that a blood pressure drug called losartan may facilitate chemotherapy throughout tumors. Losartan decompresses tumor blood vessels, increasing blood flow and chemotherapy drug delivery in mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. To see if these findings will also hold for people, a phase II clinical trial of pancreatic cancer patients is underway. This trial is currently accepting new participants.


Blood Pressure Drug Boosts Chemotherapy Delivery in Mice

One reason chemotherapies fail is that blood vessels are collapsed in the middle of tumors, blocking the delivery of anticancer drugs. Now, new research suggests that a blood pressure drug called losartan may facilitate chemotherapy throughout tumors. Losartan decompresses tumor blood vessels, increasing blood flow and chemotherapy drug delivery in mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. To see if these findings will also hold for people, a phase II clinical trial of pancreatic cancer patients is underway. This trial is currently accepting new participants.


New Targets for Melanoma Immunotherapies

Seven new genes have been linked to melanoma, say researchers at the National Cancer Institute, providing potential targets for antitumor immunotherapy drugs. These genes are overexpressed in melanomas, but are hardly active in normal tissue, so targeting them should have minimal side effects. Two of the genes are specific to melanoma (CSPG4 and SOX10), while the remaining five are in a well-known family of cancer genes (CSAG2, IL13RA2, MAGEA3, MAGEC2, and PRAME). The researchers hope to engineer people’s immune cells to recognize these targets and kill melanoma cells, a strategy that is currently being tested in clinical trials for other types of cancer. In addition, the researchers are extending their search for immunotherapy targets to pancreatic cancer.


Indirect Approach May Finally Make Inhibition of Cancer Gene KRAS Possible

The KRAS gene is mutated in one-third of tumors and its importance in promoting the growth of cancer cells has been known for decades. However, efforts to develop a KRAS inhibitor have so far been unsuccessful. Now, researchers may have found a way to suppress KRAS indirectly using a drug called deltarasin. To function properly, KRAS needs to be attached to the cell’s membrane, a process aided by the transport protein PDE-δ. Deltarasin blocks PDE-δ, preventing KRAS from anchoring to the cell membrane. A recent study showed that deltarasin reduced the growth of KRAS-mutant tumor cells both in cell culture and in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer.


Drug Activated When Oxygen is Low Could Target Melanomas

Many tumors have oxygen-depleted areas; and the cells there are more likely to invade, spread, and resist current treatments. But a new experimental cancer drug, called TH-302, is activated when oxygen is low. In a phase I clinical trial of 34 people with melanoma, TH-302 shrank tumors in 7 people and kept tumors from getting worse in 12 more people. Now, researchers have begun a phase II trial that will include up to 40 people with melanoma. This drug could also treat a variety of cancers and phase III trials are currently underway for soft tissue sarcoma and pancreatic cancer.