Repurposed drugs may halt the spread of cancer cells

July 11, 2018 by Melanie Cross, Tulane University
Asim Abdel-Mageed, DVM, PhD, Zimmerman Professor of Cancer Research at Tulane University School of Medicine, and his colleagues were part of a team that published their research in 'Scientific Reports' this spring. The research examined whether drugs already approved to treat other diseases or conditions could be effective in blocking the spread of cancer cells. Credit: Tulane Cancer Center

For cancer cells to spread to other places in the body—or metastasize—they need to communicate with one another. One way they do this is through chemical messages delivered in exosomes, the molecules that carry information from cell to cell.

Currently there are no known drugs that selectively target and inhibit the production and release of exosomes by tumor cells.

This spring, Asim Abdel-Mageed, DVM, PhD, Zimmerman Professor of Cancer Research at Tulane University School of Medicine, and his colleagues published their research that examined whether drugs already approved to treat other diseases or conditions could be effective in blocking the activity of exosomes. Their work was published in Scientific Reports.

In partnership with investigators at the National Center for Advancing Translational Science and with the support of a $4.2 million NIH grant awarded in 2014, Abdel-Mageed and his collaborators investigated 4,580 known pharmacologically active compounds and FDA-approved drugs using a rapid, high-volume, robotic screening technique. Twenty-two — including antibiotics, antifungal medicines and anti-inflammatory agents — were effective in preventing advanced prostate tumor from releasing exosomes or in blocking their production.

"Exosomes are routinely biosynthesized and released by , including prostate , and are implicated in cancer progression," Abdel-Mageed said.

"Because discovery from concept to market takes an average time of 12 years, our identified drugs could be repurposed for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer within a relatively short period of time." In fact, combining the repurposed drugs with conventional therapy was promising in reducing tumor burden in a pre-clinical animal model of cancer. Of course, much work remains to determine which individual drugs or combinations might be useful in patients.

Further research into this approach could also be useful in treating other advanced cancers, as well as diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Abdel-Mageed worked with Tulane collaborators Debasis Mondal, PhD, and Raju Thomas, MD, who he said were instrumental not only in the original grant application, but also in data and outcomes analysis.

Explore further: Researchers uncover new target to stop cancer growth

More information: Amrita Datta et al. High-throughput screening identified selective inhibitors of exosome biogenesis and secretion: A drug repurposing strategy for advanced cancer, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26411-7

Related Stories

Researchers uncover new target to stop cancer growth

June 21, 2018
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a protein called Munc13-4 helps cancer cells secrete large numbers of exosomes—tiny, membrane-bound packages containing proteins and RNAs that stimulate ...

When one drug fails, a new door opens for cancer treatment

June 26, 2018
A new class of cancer drugs—called CDK4/6 inhibitors—recently approved to treat breast cancer can stunt the cancer's growth and replication. It is also being explored for a number of other cancers. Unfortunately, patients ...

Metastasizing cancer cells modify bone remodeling with small RNA secretion

March 26, 2018
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men worldwide. In nearly three out of four patients, the cancer causes metastasis, leaving the original site of the tumor and spreading to distant sites throughout the ...

Recommended for you

Discovery of kidney cancer driver could lead to new treatment strategy

July 19, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists have uncovered a potential therapeutic target for kidney cancers that have a common genetic change. Scientists have known this genetic change ...

High fruit and vegetable consumption may reduce risk of breast cancer, especially aggressive tumors

July 19, 2018
Women who eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables each day may have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially of aggressive tumors, than those who eat fewer fruits and vegetables, according to a new study led by researchers ...

Sunscreen reduces melanoma risk by 40 per cent in young people

July 19, 2018
A world-first study led by University of Sydney has found that Australians aged 18-40 years who were regular users of sunscreen in childhood reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 40 percent, compared to those who rarely ...

Analysis of prostate tumors reveals clues to cancer's aggressiveness

July 19, 2018
Using genetic sequencing, scientists have revealed the complete DNA makeup of more than 100 aggressive prostate tumors, pinpointing important genetic errors these deadly tumors have in common. The study lays the foundation ...

Complementary medicine for cancer can decrease survival

July 19, 2018
People who received complementary therapy for curable cancers were more likely to refuse at least one component of their conventional cancer treatment, and were more likely to die as a result, according to researchers from ...

Overcoming resistance to a standard chemotherapy drug

July 19, 2018
Despite being studied for decades, the chemotherapy drug cisplatin is revealing new aspects of how it works. Researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have identified an enzyme responsible for making tumors ...

0 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.