Researchers' discovery revives hope in promising lymphoma treatment

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered the mechanism by which an experimental drug known as GCS-100 removes from lymphoma cells a protein that prevents the cells from responding to chemotherapy.

The discovery revives hope in a that had been tested in clinical trials years before but had been delayed indefinitely. The researchers hope GCS-100 can be combined with chemotherapy to create an effective treatment for diffuse large B-cell (DLBCL), the most common and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

The findings are published in the advance online issue of the journal Blood and will appear in a forthcoming print issue of the journal.

The UCLA researchers found that a protein called galectin-3 binds to an enzyme called CD45 on the surface of . This protein–enzyme combination regulates the ' susceptibility to chemotherapy, essentially protecting them from .

Derived from citrus pectin, GCS-100 works outside the cancer cells to remove the protective galectin-3. Once the galectin-3 is removed, a lymphoma cell can be effectively killed by chemotherapy drugs, part of a chain reaction of programmed cancer-cell death known as apoptosis.

Although the researchers knew the drug had shown action against lymphoma cells, the finding that GCS-100 literally removed the barrier to the initiation of cell death by removing galectin-3 from the cell surface was unexpected.

"We let the results guide our ideas, and we were able to establish a mechanism for GCS-100," said the study's first author, Mary Clark, a graduate student researcher in pathology and laboratory medicine. "I am excited to follow the progress of GCS-100 and hope to see its use in the clinic as an adjunct therapy for lymphoma in the near future."

Dr. Linda Baum, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and senior researcher on the study, said, "This drug had been abandoned because of the vagaries of the economy. My hope would be to restart this drug in clinical trials and, using this new knowledge, to include it in a more targeted lymphoma therapy."

Early of GCS-100 had shown no known side effects of the drug other than a mild rash in some patients, which other research has demonstrated is the result of the drug also promoting the development of T cells, which are created by the immune system to fight disease.

Related Stories

Novel treatment for skin lymphoma

Jan 17, 2012

Promising findings on a novel combination treatment approach for a chronic type of skin lymphoma are being published today (embargoed for 4 pm) in JAMA's Archives of Dermatology by clinical researchers from Seidman Cancer ...

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

Nov 21, 2014

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

Nov 21, 2014

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.