Promising New Treatment for Blood Cancers
Melbourne researchers may be on the verge of a medical holy grail. They’ve discovered a treatment which kills cancer cells in mice, and will begin clinical trials on human patients later this year.
Every year twelve thousand five hundred Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer. However, there’s hope now.
“Chemo therapy generally works by damaging DNA within our cells and then the cells die. This treatment is quite different. It turns off protein production within cells,” explained Professor Grant McArthur with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Tested on mice, it targets and kills the protein factories within cancer cells while having little impact on normal cells.
“Animals tolerate the treatment other than some minor changes in their blood cell count,” said Professor McArthur.
During testing, side effects were minimal and cancer cells were eradicated within seven days. Shying away from the term ‘cured’ doctors say it’s effectively destroyed all forms of blood cancers including Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myeloma.
A team of 35 Melbourne researchers have spent the past seven years developing the treatment and are hoping to have a clinical trial up and running by November. Initially one patient will be treated at a time, and they’ll be monitoring them very closely.
In years to come the treatment could be used for a range of cancers. Two of the three key researchers are in Barcelona sharing the exciting breakthrough with the world.