Medical researchers from the University of East Anglia claim to have had an incredible breakthrough. They say they have developed a new drug that works to fight all of the significant kinds of bone cancer.
The Mayo Clinic says that “bone cancer can begin in any bone in the body, but it most commonly affects the pelvis or the long bones in the arms and legs. Bone cancer is rare, making up less than 1 percent of all cancers.
Some types of bone cancer occur primarily in children, while others affect mostly adults. Surgical removal is the most common treatment, but chemotherapy and radiation therapy also may be utilized. The decision to use surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy is based on the type of bone cancer being treated.
The treatment options for your bone cancer are based on the type of cancer you have, the stage of the cancer, your overall health and your preferences. Different bone cancers respond to different treatments, and your doctors can help guide you in what is best for your cancer. For example, some bone cancers are treated with just surgery; some with surgery and chemotherapy; and some with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”
“Though some people will die of bone cancer, many others will make a full recovery. The five-year relative survival rate for bone cancer is 66.8%. This means that 66.8% of people with bone cancer are still alive five years after their diagnosis,” according to The Cleveland Clinic.
It looks like the survival rate could soon start going up even more.
Reporting in The Journal of Bone Oncology, a team of scientists at UEA has now been able to show that a new drug called CADD522 significantly reduces tumour volume, increases overall and metastasis-free survival and reduces cancer-induced bone disease in xenograft mouse models, according to Inside Precision Medicine.
The drug works by inhibiting a gene called RUNX2 responsible for osteoblast differentiation in the process of bone formation. Before using CADD522 to target the gene, the scientists collected bone and tumor samples from patients at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham and identified RUNX2 as an activator of primary osteosarcoma due to upregulation.
“In preclinical trials, metastasis-free survival was increased by 50 percent using the new CADD522 drug on its own, without chemotherapy or surgery. I’m optimistic that combined with other treatments such as surgery, this survival figure would be increased further,“ said Darrell Green, PhD, molecular biologist at Norwich Medical School and first author of the study in a press statement.
According to the scientists, a benefit of CADD52 compared to chemotherapy is its lack of side effects due to the RUNX2 gene not usually being required by healthy bone cells. Using next generation sequencing, the researchers additionally identified small RNAs that also contribute to bone cancer progression and that can be targeted using CADD52.
“This breakthrough is really important because bone cancer treatment hasn’t changed for more than 45 years, Green said.
He continued: “The new drug that we have developed is effective in all of the main bone cancer subtypes, and so far, our experiments show that it is not toxic to the rest of the body. This means that it would be a much kinder treatment for children with bone cancer, compared to the gruelling chemotherapy and life changing limb amputation that patients receive today. We hope it will save a lot of lives.”
Green also said that his breakthrough was significant because treatment for bonce cancer hasn’t really changed in over four decades. The drug is currently going through toxicological assessments, which is needed before the researchers can be approved to start human trials.