A drug that helps patients suffering from leukemia, can also be useful in increasing the survival rate in patients with lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer.
The drug works by blocking the production of the cancerous enzyme p100delta. This enzyme turns the immune system in the body off and thus prevents the body’s ability to fight cancer.
Unlike chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells, this medication is important because it allows the body to remember the cancer, so that it can fight the disease in case it appears again.
Professor Bart Vanhaesebroeck, from the Cancer Institute, discovered p100delta in 1997.
“It will work to some degree itself, if the tumor isn’t large, but it would be really effective after surgery, to prevent it from spreading,” he says.
So far tests have only been performed on mice, but scientists hope to have the chance of human trials. Giving the drug to mice with breast cancer resulted in extended life and mice that were cured where given the cancer again and survived it.
This could be a huge breakthrough for cancer research. The drug has already received the status of “breakthrough discovery” from the Federal Agency of Medicines in America, which raised research efforts to a high level.