Promising Drug May Stop Cancer-Causing Gene in its Tracks

Source: Michigan State University

Summary: Researchers are testing a promising drug that may stop a gene associated with obesity from triggering breast and lung cancer, as well as prevent these cancers from growing.

The findings are based on two studies, in the first pre-clinical study, results showed that the drug, I-BET-762, is showing signs of significantly delaying the development of existing breast and lung cancers by zeroing in on how a cancerous gene, called c-Myc, acts. I-BET-762 works by targeting DNA so that this gene can’t be expressed. It does this by inhibiting a number of important proteins, both in cancer and immune cells, ultimately reducing the amount of cancer cells in mice by 80%. These proteins are important because they play a critical role in what occurs between cells. The studies are carried out by the researchers from the Michigan State University and the study findings are published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.


Credit: Michigan State University

The second study applied the above study findings to pre-cancerous cells. The c-Myc gene is induced by visceral fat, which is found around the inner organs of the body as opposed to subcutaneous fat, which is located under the skin. This visceral fat is more dangerous to your health. Almost half a million of all new cancers have been linked to obesity. There is evidence that visceral fat and high-fat diets can increase cancer risk. Drugs that act similarly to I-BET-762 also are being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of a variety of other cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors and myeloma. Researchers hope I-BET-762 will increase breast and lung cancer patients’ chances of survival.

Asst. Prof. Jamie Bernard said, “The goal is our findings will clarify what needs to be targeted and therefore, can be used to prevent cancer in high-risk patient populations.”

More Information: Debrup Chakraborty et al, “A BET Bromodomain Inhibitor Suppresses Adiposity-Associated Malignant Transformation”, Cancer Prevention Research (2017). DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0262

Di Zhang et al, “Chemoprevention of Preclinical Breast and Lung Cancer with the Bromodomain Inhibitor I-BET 762”, Cancer Prevention Research (2017). DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0264

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