July 2, 2008

New Drug Found to Be Effective Against Broad Range of Cancers

A new drug, called lodamin, created from both a fungus that contaminated a lab experiment, and nanotechnology is believed to be effective in fighting a wide range of cancers, according to redOrbit.

Aspergillus fumigatus Fresenius, the fungus used in the study was accidentally discovered 20 years ago, by Harvard researcher Donald Ingber. It was experimentally named as TNP-470 and was developed by Mr Ingber and Judah Folkman with the help of Takeda Chemical Industries in Japan in 1990.

Although the mold demonstrated ability to prevent the growth of small blood vessels, the inability of the drug to stay in the body for longer periods of time led to its failure. The drug also caused dizziness, depression, and other side-effects and Takeda Chemical Industries later terminated its development.

However, Ofra Benny of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School and his team of scientists later improvised the drug through nanotechnology by adding two polymers that helped prolong its stay in the body.

In the preclinical studies, the altered drug suppressed lung cancer and melanoma in mice, without any side effects. While untreated mice had tumor covered livers, mice treated with lodamin had normal livers and spleens. In the experimental studies that were conducted in mice, lodamin was found to be effective against neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, brain tumors known as glioblastomas, uterine tumors, and breast cancer.

SynDevRx, a privately held Cambridge, Massachusetts biotechnology company, has acquired rights to lodamin.