September 1, 2009

Peptide stops lung tumor growth in mice

U.S. medical scientists say they have developed a treatment that is effective in blocking the growth of lung cancer tumors in mice.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers said their treatment using a specific peptide reduced tumor growth by inhibiting blood vessel formation and also shrunk the size of the tumors.

If you're diagnosed with lung cancer today, you've got a 15 percent chance of surviving five years -- and that's just devastating, said co-lead investigator Patricia Gallagher, director of the school's Molecular Biology Core Laboratory. Those other 85 people -- 85 percent -- they're not going to see their kids graduate. They're not going to see their children get married.

Peptides are compounds formed by linking one or more amino acids through the sharing of electrons, the scientists said, noting peptides can perform a wide range of functions in the body, depending on which amino acids are involved. The study involved the peptide angiotensin-(1-7).

Gallagher and Professor E. Ann Tallant, who co-led the study, said the treatment likely has applications beyond lung cancer -- they have collected data showing it is also effective on breast, colon and brain tumors.

They said the first clinical trial of angiotensin-(1-7) has been completed and the results are being reviewed.

The research that included graduate students David Soto-Pantoja and Jyotsana Menon was reported in a recent issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.