Imantanib is a drug which prevents the growth of new blood vessels, thereby inhibiting the growth of tumour(anti-angiogenesis). It has been discovered that using Imantanib (Glivec ) and a drug that induces cell death (apoptosis) works better. It was found that the combination was more effective in stopping the growth of Ewing's sarcoma in mice than when either drug was given separately.
The research was done by Prof Andrea Hayes-Jordan, assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA. The researchers claim that they are the first to establish the combined effect of apoptosis and anti-angiogenic therapy.
Professor Andrea Hayes-Jordan reported Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Prague, states that treating sarcoma cells with imantanib inhibited a growth factor called PDGFR-beta. This had the effect of increasing the sensitivity of the cells to a drug called tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL).
'Prof Hayes-Jordan said, 'When I treated the tumour cells with imantanib, the anti-angiogenic drug, the receptors for TRAIL, the apoptotic drug, increased, thus increasing the efficacy of TRAIL'. This was supported by the mouse studies, which showed increased inhibition of pulmonary metastases and primary tumour growth when both were used simultaneously.
These findings are important because, if it proves to be effective in humans, it would be well tolerated and have significantly fewer side effects than traditional cytotoxic therapy. Also, at present, we have no effective chemotherapy for pulmonary metastases-the only effective treatment is surgery-so this would give us another option.'
Prof Hayes-Jordan hopes to investigate the dual therapy in humans in a clinical trial within 12-18 months.