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New NF-kappaB treatments against blood cancers

  • Researcher: Professor David Edwin Thurston
  • Institution: King's College London
  • Award Amount: £195,200 for 3 years from October 2012
  • Cancer Type: Leukaemia
New NF-kappaB treatments against blood cancers
In some types of leukaemia, the cancer cells produce a protein call NFkB (pronounced "N-F-kappa-B") which is known to block the suicide mechanism (called "apoptosis") normally found in cells. The suicide mechanism is important, as it causes damaged cells to die. This process is often defective in cancer cells, allowing them to escape death and continue to grow, thus leading to cancers. NFkB has also been linked to cancer cells becoming resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs. By directly stopping NFkB, it may be possible to turn the suicide mechanism in cancer cells back on, thus making existing chemotherapy drugs more effective. Professor Thurston will be using his Worldwide Cancer Research grant to design and test small drug-like molecules that might be able to block NFkB, and this may lead to potential new treatments for blood and bone marrow cancers, and make existing treatments more effective. Molecules that show promising results will be further tested in human tumour models to identify a possible drug candidate to be tested as a new anticancer treatment.
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