JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 25 (UPI) — Mayo Clinic scientists in Florida say they’ve discovered an oncogene important in colon and lung cancer is also linked with poor pancreatic cancer survival.
The researchers said they determined the oncogene PKC-iota is over-produced in pancreatic cancer and that genetically inhibiting it in laboratory animals led to a significant decrease in pancreatic tumor growth and spread.
They said their finding is especially encouraging because an experimental agent that targets the oncogene is already being tested at the Mayo Clinic.
“This is the first study to establish a role for PKC-iota in growth of pancreatic cancer, so it is exciting to know that an agent already exists that targets (it), which we can now try in preclinical studies,” said Nicole Murray, who led the research.
The drug, aurothiomalate, is being tested in a phase I clinical trial in patients with lung cancer at Mayo Clinic’s sites in Minnesota and Arizona. Based on findings to date, a phase II clinical trial is being planned to combine aurothiomalate with agents targeted at other molecules involved in cancer growth.
Mayo Clinic researchers led by Alan Fields, chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology and a co-author of the new report, discovered aurothiomalate in 2006. The drug was once used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
The new discovery is reported in the March 1 issue of Cancer Research.
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