In two separate studies of the uptake of BPA (boronophenylalanine) by cancerous brain cells, a group led by Subhash Chandra, a senior research associate with Cornell's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has found that the dose currently favored by medical researchers is not high enough to target cancer cells effectively. While the standard length of time that a patient spends being infused with BPA is one to two hours, the Cornell group found that an infusion time of six hours was required to ensure that cancer cells take up the drug in adequate levels. Chandra's Cornell collaborators on the studies included researchers Duane R. Smith and Daniel R. Lorey.
Remarkably, the results of the two studies were almost identical, even though one was performed on rats and one on human brain cancer cells cultured and grown in the laboratory on silicon chips. The human studies were published in the June 2002 issue of Radiation Research and the rat studies in the November 2001 issue of Cancer Research .
As a result of the Cornell-led research, Studsvik Medical, a research company in Nykoping, Sweden, has begun clinical trials of longer infusions of the drug in hopes of improving the success of the therapy.
"Different models showing the same thing -- I think this is what gives the strength to this study," says Chandra. The conclusions are strengthened by a third study, also led by Chandra, published in the August issue Clinical Cancer Research , that lends powerful support to a new method of observing BPA activity in the brains of
Contact: David Brand
Cornell University News Service