Even more great cancer treatment news! Last week we saw the successful elimination of cancer cells with the help of remote-controlled nanoparticles and today we’re going to take a look at the latest cancer news that doesn’t seem like it’s taken out of a Sci-Fi novel: copper starvation appears to be a promising treatment for cancers.
Copper Starvation Appears To Be a Promising Treatment for Certain Cancers
A new study has revealed that some types of cancer, including, leukemias, thyroid cancers and a large percentage of melanomas are encouraged by a mutation of a BRAF gene which relies on a supply of copper. This great discovery can open the door to new and promising treatment for these cancers, with drugs that block copper absorption. These types of drugs are already available, as they are used to treat a rare genetic condition called Wilson disease. In other words, copper starvation appears to be a promising treatment for certain cancers.
The results of the study were published in the online journal Nature. The study was conducted by Christopher M. Counter from the Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, NC.
The study begins by highlighting the dangers and causes of melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer that kills around 10,000 Americans every year. Half of the cases of melanoma are caused by mutation inside the BRAF gene, which deals with regulation of cell division. When this gene mutates, it causes the cells to grow uncontrolled.
The researchers already knew that a mutation of the gene causes a series of events that cause cancer. Copper boosts the efficiency of one of the enzymes that activate the change that causes BRAF-positive cancers. Professor Counter explains that all BRAF-positive cancers, which include melanoma, are hungry for copper.
After having learned this, the researchers found that if they starved the gene from absorbing the copper, then the BRAF mutation signals were decreased and the size of the tumors were reduced in mice. They also tried it with human cells and the results were the same.
They used a drug used to treat and manage Wilson disease, a rare genetic disease where there is an excess copper which builds up in different organs of the human body, causing damage. The drug inhibits copper absorption and they experienced similar results with using it.
The University has been given the all-clear to begin a clinical trial on humans to tests the drugs that reduce the absorption of copper in patients with melanoma, which is some of the best latest cancer news we’ve gotten in a while.
It appears that copper starvation appears to be a promising treatment for certain cancers. What are your thoughts on the latest cancer news involving copper and melanoma? Share your thoughts with us.