Could targeting the body clock stall brain cancer?

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Could targeting the body clock stall brain cancer?

New cancer treatments aim to see if slowing cancer cell growth can be beneficial.

Researchers are currently exploring the potential of a new drug in the fight against brain cancer. The drug targets the circadian rhythm, or “internal clock” of the body, at a cellular level, which stalls the cancer cells’ growth.

Brain and central nervous system (CNS) cancersare aggressive and often resilient to the normal therapies prescribed in these cases, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that there were around 23,800 new cases of brain and CNS cancers last year, which amounts to 1.4 percent of all new cancer cases.

Following treatment, only 33.6 percent of these people survived for 5 years or longer in the 2007–2013 period.

Over the years, specialists have focused on devising new and much more effective treatments for brain cancer, in an effort to improve the rates of remission and survival.

Now, researchers led by Dr. Satchidananda Panda, from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, have started to experiment with a new drug that has the potential to disrupt the growth of cancer cells without the toxic side effects of traditional chemotherapy agents.

The researchers studied the effect of a drug called SR9009 on brain tumors in a mouse model. Their findings were published yesterday in the journal Nature.

Experimental drug ‘starves’ cancer cells

In their study paper, Dr. Panda and colleagues note that the disruption of circadian rhythms — or the internal body clock that regulates our day-to-day biological processes — at cellular level can lead to a higher risk of developing cancer. This, they add, is the case in both humans and mice.

The drug SR9009 acts on a type of protein called REV-ERB, which ensures the correct functioning of circadian rhythms.

Read full article: Could targeting the body clock stall brain cancer?

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