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OMRF researchers finding some hope in anti-brain tumor drug

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientists are seeing some good results in a brain-cancer-fighting drug under review.
BY GREG ELWELL Modified: May 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm •  Published: May 14, 2013

An anti-brain tumor drug developed at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation could prove more effective than current therapies because it attacks cancer cells at multiple key points.

A paper by OMRF scientists Rheal Towner, Ph.D., and Robert Floyd, Ph.D., published in the journal “Neuro-Oncology” showed OKN007 was successful when pitted against extremely aggressive glioma tumors in rats and in human cells.

“One of the main dangers of gliomas is their ability to keep growing. Not only are they getting bigger, but they're marshaling resources by growing blood vessels, invading cells and turning off the process that tells cells when to die,” Towner said. “We've found that OKN007 targets all of these factors.”

Most anti-cancer drugs are aimed at one specific gene, he said. But cancers are resourceful and can devise multiple ways to survive, which is why a multi-target drug might be more successful.

In the parlance of old Westerns, it cuts tumors off at the pass by stunting several growth mechanisms, Towner said.

Their tests showed the compound was able to:

Trigger apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, which is often turned off in cancer cells.

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