Drug to reduce polyps and prevent CRC

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Drug to reduce polyps and prevent CRC


Scientists from Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute have found
that a new drug, called AZD2171, can reduce the number and size of pre-cancerous growths, or polyps, in the bowels of mice. These can progress to bowel cancer if left untreated. (Goodlad et al. Carcinogenesis, October 2006; 27: 2133 – 2139)

The researchers gave the drug to mice genetically pre-disposed to developing pre-cancerous polyps in the bowel.  All of the mice were treated with the drug for a period of 28 days.  Half of the mice began receiving the drug at 6 weeks old, and the other half at 10 weeks – to examine the effects of early or late treatment.

The drug AZD2171 interferes with a molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which acts as the signal telling cells to grow new blood vessels. In order for polyps to grow and progress into cancer, they need to grow their own blood vessels – a process called angiogenesis.  By disrupting the VEGF signalling, the drug can stop blood vessel formation and therefore restrict tumour growth.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers – around 35,000 people in
the UK are diagnosed with the disease each year.  Most bowel cancers develop from pre-cancerous polyps that grow on the bowel wall.  These polyps are fairly
common and it is estimated that around 40 per cent of people over the age of
50 have them.  However, only between 5 and 10 per cent of these polyps will
go on to develop into cancer. (Ed:  Aspirin, Ginger, Aloe Vera, Garlic, Fish oils/Omega 3 are amongst a number of natural compounds which also have been shown to ‘restrict’ polyp growth)

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