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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Drug destroys stubborn tumours
Cancer cells
The drug starves cancer cells of vital nutrients
Scientists are developing a drug which appears to have the potential to destroy some of the most stubborn cancer tumours.

The drug, called DMXAA, is able to starve a tumour of vital nutrients by reducing its blood supply.

Scientists hope that with further development DMXAA could benefit many cancer patients in the future

Cancer Research Campaign
It does this by constricting the tiny blood vessels that feed the tumour, and by stimulating the release of immune system chemicals called cytokines that cause the blood vessels to haemorrhage.

The drug is being developed by a company called Cancer Research Ventures, which was set up by the Cancer Research Campaign.

It was discovered by Professors Bruce Baguley and Bill Denny and their teams of researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

They developed and tested it, with top UK scientists and clinicians from London and Bradford.

Promising results

A CRC spokesman said: "Early laboratory and clinical trials show promising results indicating that the drug has significant activity against solid tumours.

"Scientists hope that with further development DMXAA could benefit many cancer patients in the future."

Professor Gordon Rustin and his team tested the drug at Mount Vernon Hospital, west London.

Professor Rustin said: "We monitored the effect of the drug using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, which use magnetic fields to give a visual picture of the water content of living tissue.

"The scans suggested that DMXAA was having an effect on blood flow to the tumour."

Scientists believe the drug may be particularly effective when used in combination with other anti-cancer treatments.

It delivers an initial blow which leaves the tumour weaker and more susceptible to radiotherapy and standard chemotherapies.

Glyn Edwards, Antisoma's chief executive officer, said they hoped to complete Phase 1 testing the drug alone and start Phase 1b studies using it in combination with chemotherapy by the end of next year.

See also:

19 Apr 00 | Health
Tumours 'grow own blood supply'
30 Apr 99 | Health
Drug starves cancer tumours
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