A novel drug that a research team has been working on may be able to reduce the growth of neuroblastoma(a childhood brain cancer) by a whopping 75 percent.
A study, conducted with human neuroblastoma cells transplanted into mice, showed how 3-BrOP, a glycolysis inhibitor, starved the cancer cells to death by shutting down their main energy source, glucose.
"We found that neuroblastoma cells, unlike healthy cells, are highly dependent on glycolysis for energy instead of more efficient means of energy production," said Alejandro Levy, M.D., fellow at the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
"Glycolysis is a process that breaks down sugar for energy, so by blocking that process with 3-BrOP, we are able to keep the tumors from producing energy, and this disrupts their ability to grow," Levy added.
Pre-clinically, 3-BrOP has already been proven effective against other cancers including glioblastoma, colon cancer, lymphoma and acute leukemia. A Phase I clinical trial is planned to open this year for adult patients.
Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the Children's Cancer Hospital and senior investigator of the study, said: "As we explore alternative options to standard chemotherapy agents, we are finding drugs, like 3-BrOP, that have the potential to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed."
"These drugs can often enhance the efficacy of other treatments, potentially leading to more successful combinations and better outcomes for our young patients," Zweidler-McKay added.
The pre-clinical study was presented today in the plenary session at the 22nd annual meeting of the American Society of Paediatric Hematology/Oncology.