Mesothelioma researchers hopeful about cancer discovery

Published on August 30, 2021

Malignant mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that is notoriously resistant to treatment. Despite the best efforts of researchers and doctors, the asbestos-related disease continues to claim the lives of patients shortly after their diagnosis. While the gold standard treatment for mesothelioma is still a combination of platinum-based chemotherapy along with surgery and radiation therapy, a new discovery by researchers at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine and the BC Cancer Research Institute has given new hope for a breakthrough. .
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The myth of the Achilles heel |  Download Scientific Diagram

Weakness in enzyme called “Achilles heel” of cancer tumors like mesothelioma

A new study published in the journal Scientific progress has led to hopes for a new treatment strategy for malignant mesothelioma. The researchers identified a weakness in an important enzyme found in solid tumor cancer cells. They call it the cells’ Achilles heel and hope they can use its weakness to cause cell death.

solid tumors like those found in mesothelioma, blood vessels develop that provide them with the nutrients and oxygen they need to grow. When the tumors outgrow the ability of these blood vessels to supply them with what they need, acid builds up in them. But the cells respond to this acid by releasing neutralizing enzymes that make the tumors more aggressive and cause them to spread.

Inhibiting enzyme and combining with proteins causes cell death

The researchers found that cancer cells such as those in mesothelioma tumors require the enzyme Carbonic Anhydrase IX (CAIX) to survive. While inhibiting its activity could halt the growth of the cells, using a tool called a genome-wide synthetic lethal screen, they determined that an even greater impact was possible by combining a CAIX inhibitory agent with a gene that inhibits ferroptosis. caused, a type of catastrophic cell death caused by iron build-up.

According to senior author Dr. Shoukat Dedhar, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the UBC Faculty of Medicine and leading scientist at BC Cancer, said: “We now know that the CAIX enzyme prevents cancer cells from dying as a result of ferroptosis. Combining CAIX inhibitors, including SLC-0111, with compounds known to cause ferroptosis results in catastrophic cell death and attenuation of tumor growth.”

As researchers step into the fight against mesothelioma, those diagnosed with the rare and deadly cancer still need support and resources. For assistance, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608 today.

Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the lead writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power and is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victim stories.

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