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Thursday, August 9, 2012

New drugs research to reduce harmful effects of radiation therapy in cancer treatment.


Activated protein C found to reduce harmful effect of radiation therapy in animal model now can be developed for humans as well to provide protection against harmful effect of radiation therapy in treatment of cancer and accidental exposure to radiation.

Radiation therapy is one of very important line of treatment for cancer, radiation is used to kill cancer cells, radiation kills cancer cells by damaging DNA of cancer cell preventing them form further division and proliferation, and prevents them from spreading in other part of body.

While radiation is able to kill cancerous cells it do affect normal cells surrounding the cancerous tissue and harm normal body tissue. Tissue repair process and healing process is delayed, blood cell counts too are reduced which is responsible for development of weakness and illness.

The most deadly effect of radiation therapy is its affect on bone marrow and stem cells, the cells which serve as origin for all of our body tissues cells. Radiation affects normal cells which rapidly divide (damage to cells in hair follicle result in hair loss). Damage to stem cells in bone marrow can be very critical due to reduction in WBC and RBC’S and tissue repair process is delayed.

Other effects of radiation therapy are fibrosis , damage in side bowel , diarrhea and bleeding , memory loss , infertility , there are chances of occurrence of secondary cancer due to radiation therapy it self.

Scientists at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Dr. Martin Hauer-Jensen ) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Dr. Hartmut Geiger) , Blood Research Institute of Wisconsin (Dr. Hartmut Weiler) have studied how harmful effect of radiation therapy can be reduced, in an animal model study over mice.

In mice model they found that after irradiation there was an increase in activity of the thrombomodulin gene (Thbd) which is responsible for production of cell surface receptor which regulates blood cell production and other process.

Thrombomodulin gene (Thbd) is also known for stimulating formation of protein C , in all its a is a protective mechanism which protects normal tissue cells from harmful effect of radiation by rapid production of normal blood and other tissue cells.

Scientists found that mice were able to get protection from harmful effect of radiation when infused with protein C.

This finding now opens new field for development of drugs for preventing harmful effect of radiation therapy in treatment of cancer.

So far there is only one drug which is approved by FDA to treat and provide protection against harmful effect of radiation over salivary gland damage is amifostine (Ethyol®) this drug can protect salivary glands from damage from radiation therapy when given during radiation therapy. Amifostine neutralize harmful free radicals produced by radiation and alkylating agents as well.

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