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Anti-cancer agent built from anti-inflammatory drug

COLUMBUS, Ohio Researchers have used a recently developed anti-inflammatory drug as a starting point to construct a possible new, targeted anti-cancer agent. The new agent works by triggering cancer cells to self-destruct.

The agent is now undergoing laboratory testing by the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Rapid Access to Intervention Development (RAID) program.

The potential new drug was developed by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Presently, the agent is known as OSU-03012. The study is published in the June 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"This new agent works by inhibiting a fundamental signaling point in cancer cells, making it potentially effective in a wide range of cancer types," says study leader Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and a researcher with OSU's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We also have evidence that it may sensitize leukemia, and breast and lung cancers to conventional chemotherapy."

The new agent is based on the drug celecoxib, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. Like many NSAIDs, celecoxib also reduces the risk of colorectal cancer when taken regularly.

Scientists knew from the start that celecoxib helps control inflammation by inhibiting an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). But they couldn't explain the drug's modest anti-cancer activity.

Past work led by Chen provided the answer.

"We found that celecoxib's ability to cause cell death and to control inflammation were two different pharmacological properties, and that the two properties could be separated," Chen says. This work was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Chen and his colleagues then showed that celecoxib inhibited a molecule known as Akt.

Chen describes Akt as an important molecular switch that
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Contact: Darrell E. Ward
Ward-15@medctr.osu.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University
7-Jul-2004


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