Sea creature's toxin could lead to promising cancer treatment

tinguishable in its biological action, but is easier to synthesize in the lab.

The researchers tested AB-5's effectiveness against cancer by implanting human tumor cells under the skin of m ice and treating them with either paclitaxel (Taxol) or vinblastine both approved drugs currently used or AB-5. The trial used tumor cells from human prostate, breast and colon cancers.

While all three drugs reduced tumors in the mice, the known drugs caused significant weight loss and loss of white blood cells while AB-5 caused neither side effect. "That the diazonamide toxin blocks mitosis selectively in cancer cells is almost too desirable an outcome to be true," said Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of biochemistry and senior author of the second study. "As with any other unanticipated scientific discovery, the validity of these observations will be held to appropriately diligent scrutiny."


Contact: Aline McKenzie
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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