New drug shows promise to treat colorectal cancer

Singapore, Jan 9 (IANS) A small molecule drug combined with chemotherapy may effectively treat colorectal cancer patients, says a new study.

The researchers demonstrated the efficiency of the drug called “PRIMA-1met” in inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

Colorectal cancer is the cancer of the large intestine (colon and rectum) and it is known for its poor long term survival rates among adults.

“We are optimistic that the development of this drug as a targeted therapeutic approach against colorectal cancer, together with chemotherapy, holds good potential for patients,” said lead researcher Chng Wee Joo, professor at National University of Singapore (NUS).

In this study, the team found PRIMA-1met to be most effective in killing colorectal cancer cells that contain the mutated p53, a tumour suppressor gene that promotes death of cancer cells.

Unlike most anti-cancer drugs which works by inducing damage to DNA and often has serious side effects, PRIMA-1met is more favourable as it restores the structure and function of the mutated gene and specifically promotes the death of cancer cells, the researchers said.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to test if the combination of this drug, with anticancer drugs such as Fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin, which are commonly used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, will optimise the results of chemotherapy.

The study was published online in the journal Oncotarget.

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