Швейцарские ученые смогли превратить раковые клетки подопытных мышей в обычные жировые. Сделали они это с помощью двух уже разрешенных к продаже лекарств. Лечение не превратило в жировые все раковые клетки, но уничтожило метастазы и остановило распространение рака. Будет ли это лечение эффективным для людей, пока что не ясно.
[Spoiler (click to open)] Future research
Targeting cancer cells undergoing EMT "is a new and very elegant idea aimed at turning 'bad' into 'good,'" said Andrei Gudkov, a cancer researcher and senior vice president for research technology and innovation at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, who was not involved in the study. In this case, cancer cells in this adaptable state were forced to change into fat cells that are incapable of further cell divisions, Gudkov noted.
Gudkov agreed that because the study used two FDA-approved drugs, this "greatly facilitates a potential clinical translation" for use in people. However, the design for a study that would unequivocally demonstrate that this drug combination works in cancer patients to prevent metastasis desired "is not obvious," Gudkov said.
It's challenging to discover and test drugs to prevent metastasis, Gudkov said. Such trials need to be long and require a large number of patients. In addition, in this case, the two drugs that would be tested in combination are already FDA approved, and "running generic drugs through lengthy trials rarely happens, in part because of the time and expense involved," Gudkov told Live Science.
The researchers hypothesized that if they forced a "critical mass" of cancer cells undergoing EMT to turn into fat cells, this could reduce the tumor's ability to evade chemotherapy. (EMT is thought to help cancer cells escape chemotherapy, making the cancer cells more adaptable.) In future studies in animals, the researchers said, they plan to test their therapy drug combination with existing chemotherapies; they'll also examine how it affects other types of cancers.