New drug for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Dec. 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Researchers at two laboratories at New York's Weill Cornell Medical College say they led efforts to develop a drug to treat an aggressive form of lymphoma.

Lead investigator Dr. Ari Melnick, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical and Physical Sciences at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the research team included investigators from Spain, Canada and several other U.S. institutions.

In the journal Cancer Cell, the researchers reported the discovery of an experimental small molecule agent, MI-2, that irreversibly inactivates MALT1 -- a key protein responsible for driving the growth and survival of ABC-Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the seventh most frequently diagnosed cancer.

"In our study we show the drug MI-2 we developed inactivates any MALT1 protein it touches, and without any apparent toxicity in animal models," Melnick said in a statement. "No single drug can cure lymphoma. This is why we need to combine agents that can strike-out the different cellular pathways that lymphoma cells use to survive. We want to eliminate the use of toxic chemotherapy in the treatment of lymphoma patients, and these new study findings take us one-step closer to our goal of creating effective combinational molecular targeted therapy regimens to reduce treatment toxicity and improve lymphoma patient outcomes."

If tested successfully in human clinical trials, MI-2 could have benefits for other diseases, including MALT1 lymphoma, a lower-grade type of lymphoma.

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