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Canadian Scientists Announce New Cancer Findings
Story Filed: Tuesday, March 14, 2000 3:37 PM EST
OTTAWA (March 14) XINHUA - Canadian scientists Tuesday announced new findings that may lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of up to 60 percent of cancers.
The Cancer Agency of the province of British Columbia and Kinetek Pharmaceuticals told a news conference in Vancouver that they had discovered a faulty genetic switch that helps turn healthy human cells into invasive, cancerous killers.
The faulty switch is caused by a growth factor that is hyperactive in 60 percent of cancers, including prostate, breast and ovarian cancers, as well as brain tumors.
The growth factor, known as ILK, is a protein that functions as a "master switch" in cell's communications networks. The switch is normally turned on for brief periods during cell development and growth.
But in cancerous cells ILK is turned on and on because of a gene mutation. It makes the cells invasive and triggers production of blood vessels needed to keep tumors alive.
By using small molecule drugs isolated at the Vancouver-based Kinetek Pharmaceuticals, Canadian scientists succeeded in turning ILK off in mice and in cancerous human cells in the test tube.
They also induce cell death and prevent the spread and growth of blood vessels that feed tumors, according to their research paper on the work published Tuesday in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Kinetek Pharmaceuticals says it has developed several potential drug candidates to inhibit ILK, return its activity level to normal and restore proper functioning of the growth factor signaling pathways.
The inhibitors appear to have been well tolerated by healthy cells, unlike chemotheraph or radiation, although further research is needed to prove that the ILK suppressers are safe and effective, Canadian scientists say.
They hope to move their findings to trials in humans in 18 months to two years.
Copyright ) 2000, Xinhua News Agency, all rights reserved.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 14, 2000
This story is all over the Canadian media. Such good news!!!
-- viewer (email@example.com), March 14, 2000.