New Treatment Could Increase Survival Rates after Chemotherapy

Through his firm American Life Fund Corp., Eugene E. Houchins III helps his clients gain access to funds needed for things such as uninsured medical costs. Eugene E. Houchins III takes a professional interest in innovations that could improve the survival rate of cancer patients.

Persons with lymphoma and leukemia may one day benefit from new research that suggests using existing drugs to fight cancer in a new and potentially much more effective way can increase survival rates.

No method now exists for curing or removing these cancers. Patients often receive chemotherapy with the goal of killing all cancer cells, staving off the disease. Unfortunately, cancer cells often develop resistance to chemo during treatment, and the tumors are not eradicated.

Researchers are now looking at a class of drugs known as small molecule inhibitors that takes advantage of cancer cells’ need for healthy adjacent cells (called stroma cells) to survive. Isolating the stroma cells from the tumor robs it of necessary nutrients and the cancer cells die.

Until now, scientists have not known how to accomplish this, but a recent study demonstrates that proteins known as PKC-inhibitors can starve tumor cells by affecting the stromas. Previous researchers who attempted to strike cancer cells directly with PKC saw poor results.

Treating both tumor and stroma cells improved survival rates considerably – in one case extending the period by 90 percent when compared to targeting tumors only. It had the added benefit of fighting several types of leukemia and lymphoma.

If other researchers can replicate these results, the outlook for patients with lymphoma and leukemia will be brighter.