Scientists have discovered an experimental therapy that suppresses UC (ulcerative colitis) that causes colon cancer, one of the most aggressive types of cancer
Ulcerative colitis leads to inflammatory bowel disease that finally may lead to colo-rectal cancer. UCLA scientists treatment utilizes a chemical inhibitor able to block an RNA molecule that transmits genetic information, called microRNA-214.
While it is still unclear why colitis patients develop colon cancer, high levels of microRNA-214 have been registered in UC patients. A new chemical inhibitor of this gene has been discovered.
During two years, Dr. Dimitrios Iliopoulos (University of California, Health Sciences, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center) and Dr. Christos Polytarchou (UCLA assistant professor) examined 401 colon tissue samples from patients with UC, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colo-rectal and colon cancer and compared them to tissue samples from healthy people.
By utilizing high-tech computer programs and robotics that combines molecular and clinical information they hoped to identify the most important responsible genes, in oder to be able to create new drugs for the disease.
“The first steps of the drug discovery process usually take five to six years and by using our novel approach we expedited the drug discovery process only in two years,” said Dr. Iliopoulos. “We evaluated this drug in mice with ulcerative colitis and colon tumors and found that in both cases it was highly effective to suppress these diseases”.
No later than next year, Dr. Iliopoulos wants to begin phase I clinical trials for UC patients. The study is for now now available online.
The incidence is so high that 49.700 more people are expected to die from it in 2015. Colon cancer is the third cause of cancer deaths in the United States.