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Cancerous vs. healthy cells: Researchers identify the road to success

WASHINGTON, D.C. − Conventional cancer treatments are generally effective in wiping out tumor cells, but in the process they also may kill healthy cells. Researchers are focusing their efforts now on treatments that can target just the cancerous cells, without harming healthy tissue in their midst. These new types of drugs are known as targeted therapies, and physicians are studying their effectiveness and possible side effects in a variety of different types of cancer.

Several targeted therapies are being studied alone and in combination to treat a variety of cancer types. In particular, cancerous brain tumors can be more difficult to treat than other cancers, and oncologists are developing therapies that target these cells to improve patients' survival. Researchers also are gaining a better understanding of the molecular differences between cancerous and healthy cells, improving current treatment and survival rates, according to studies presented today at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

NF-kB as a Therapeutic Target in Malignant Gliomas: Abstract No. 1506

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., have found they may be able to successfully treat brain tumor cells with a new targeted therapy that inhibits the activity of a cell protein called nuclear factor-Kappa B (NF-kB).

The drug, called bortezomib or (Velcade) when used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments represents a potential new way to treat malignant glioma, a particularly stubborn and aggressive brain tumor.

"Targeting the NF-kB pathway either alone or in combination with other chemotherapy agents, is an effective anti-glioma treatment," said Ai-Min Hui, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow at the NCI and the lead investigator of the study.

In their study, the NCI researchers set out to determine the role of NF-kB in reversing the apoptotic (or programmed cell dea
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Contact: Warren Froelich
froelich@aacr.org
215-440-9300
American Association for Cancer Research
7-Apr-2006


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