Research published in Nature magazine’s Scientific Reports offers hope that a new combination therapy could represent a safer and more effective option for cancer patients.
The researchers combined doxorubicin, a kind of antibiotic which has long been used to treat several types of cancer, with fidarestat, an AR inhibitor which has been studied as a potential diabetes therapy for many years.
While doxorubicin is often used as a highly cost-effective treatment for colon cancer, its effect can become diminished over time, requiring higher doses that can have a toxic effect on the heart.
Combining the drug with fidarestat, the researchers found, boosts its effectiveness, making a lower and less toxic dose possible.
Fidarestat has completed Phase II clinical trials in the USA and Phase III in Japan, and was found to have no major side effects.
Lead author Satish Srivastava of the University of Texas said: “We’ve shown that oxidative signals can be blocked by aldose reductase, or AR, inhibitors.”
“If we could prevent development of the new blood vessels in the cancer tissue driven by these signals, tumor growth and metastasis can be slowed down or prevented.”
“In the study, using human colon cancer cell lines, we showed that the growth of cancer cells can be largely prevented using a combination of both drugs in a petri dish as well as in mouse models.”
“Since doxorubicin is one of the cheapest drugs that is effective against many types of cancer but rarely used in colon cancer, the combination therapy could be highly effective in combating colon cancer while drastically lowering risk of cardiotoxic side effects.”