Cancer

17 March 2008

Parkinson's drug fights cancer

The drug dopamine - currently used to treat patients with conditions such as Parkinson's disease, pituitary tumours and heart attack - may also prove effective in cancer patients.

0
The drug dopamine - currently used to treat patients with conditions such as Parkinson's disease, pituitary tumours and heart attack - may also prove effective in cancer patients, a Mayo Clinic study finds.

In laboratory and mouse tests, researchers found dopamine can help prevent the development of new blood vessels, something that would slow the progression of cancer. The findings were published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"Researchers can now test this concept in solid tumours where angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) plays a critical role in the growth and progression of these cancers," Dr Sujit Basu, a Mayo Clinic oncologist, said in a prepared statement.

Specifically, Basu and colleagues found that dopamine prevents the transfer of endothelial progenitor cells (which help form new blood vessels) from bone marrow into the circulatory system. The drug does this by binding to a specific receptor on the surface of the progenitor cells. This suppresses the activity of an enzyme (MMP-9) that enables the progenitor cells to move out of bone marrow.

In their experiments, the researchers found that dopamine significantly decreased movement of progenitor cells from bone marrow and decreased MMP-9 expression.

"Sometimes new drugs may not be the answer. We looked instead at a novel use for an established product, and have found very promising results," Basu said.

Natural dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates movement and affects behaviour. The drug is a synthetic form of the natural brain chemical.

"This is the first time it has been shown that an important neurotransmitter like dopamine is regulating the mobilisation of these progenitor cells from the bone marrow. This is very important, and represents why these findings are so unique," Basu said. - (HealthDay News)

Read more:
Parkinson's study makes waves
New drug for Parkinson's

March 2008

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Cancer expert

CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit cansa.org.za.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules