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Thread: Sea Creature Toxin Kills Cancer Cells With No Harmful Side Effects

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    ckb2001's Avatar
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    Sea Creature Toxin Kills Cancer Cells With No Harmful Side Effects

    This is one reason for conservation. Forget sentimentality: so many unknown organisms harbor defense mechanisms unknown to science that could be used for good purposes by humans.

    In this case, the sea creature is something called a sea squirt and was discovered in 1990 off the coast of the Philippines.

    Apparently, its toxin blocks uninhibited reproduction of human cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected. In mice, it has shown none of the side effects of other cancer drugs:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0206095628.htm

    "The animal, Diazona angulata, is a sea squirt a few inches wide that lives in colonies anchored to rocks. It was discovered offshore of the Philippines in 1990 as scientists were looking for species that might lead to useful drugs. From a few specimens, scientists extracted a tiny amount of a toxin, diazonamide A, which the animal probably uses to repel predators."

    "Dr. Noelle Williams, assistant professor of biochemistry and internal medicine, led the second phase of the research, which tested the effect of a variant of diazonamide A, called AB-5, in mice with tumors."

    "While all three drugs reduced tumors in the mice, the known drugs caused significant weight loss and loss of white blood cells while AB-5 caused neither side effect. "That the diazonamide toxin blocks mitosis selectively in cancer cells is almost too desirable an outcome to be true," said Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of biochemistry and senior author of the second study."

    "In a study appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the UT Southwestern scientists detail how the toxin blocks uninhibited reproduction of cultured human cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

    An accompanying study in PNAS shows that, in pre-clinical trials, a synthetic form of the toxin reduced human tumors implanted in mice without the harmful side effects seen using other cancer drugs. "Diazonamide is a special molecule -- it's teaching us more than we imagined," said Dr. Patrick Harran, professor of biochemistry and a senior author on both studies."
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    wow. the last couple weeks have had a ton of great news for fighting cancer. i wonder which drugs will make it to the market and how long it would take. im sure all of us know someone who had or has cancer. my sister is battling breast cancer right now
    special thanks to in flames for the avatar and sig



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    This is great news. My mother died of cancer, hopefully this can save people in the future.
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    Sad thing is.... by the time the FDA allows it to be used, none of us or our children will be around to see it.
    Look for it to finally hit the US market in approx 2525.
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    ckb2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maynard the Hammer View Post
    wow. the last couple weeks have had a ton of great news for fighting cancer. i wonder which drugs will make it to the market and how long it would take. im sure all of us know someone who had or has cancer. my sister is battling breast cancer right now
    I'm not even posting 1/4 of the news that is deemed noteworthy on the subject. Most of the stuff is about advances in nanotechnology that shows how nanoparticles can help guide conventional drugs to the proper target, thus reducing any "collateral damage" or how nanoparticles help illuminate the tumor, etc.. But, posting that stuff I think might elicit a "not another one!" type of response :wink:

    So, the only reason it seems like there's more news lately is because I thought it might be useful to post some of this stuff. Multiply this kind of news by 4 or 5 and that's the level of "noteworthy" news you have each day on this that has been going on for many years. Don't forget how many researchers are working on this stuff. I mean those billions of dollars does go somewhere.

    Oh, and something from personal contact. I have a friend in chemical engineering at Caltech (working under a famous prof named Heath) who just published a paper on a new biomolecular sensor that can quantify the amount of oligonucleotides (anyway... something important in cancer detection) using silicon nanowires. This means you can use extremely small amounts (I mean very small) of human tissue to make diagnoses (come to think of it, I'm sure crime scene investigators will use that someday) in real time. That's a small but important advance too in fighting cancer.

    So, the real big advances are in nanotechnology. I just don't post this stuff most of the time.
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    ckb2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WharfRat View Post
    Sad thing is.... by the time the FDA allows it to be used, none of us or our children will be around to see it.
    Look for it to finally hit the US market in approx 2525.
    Even if you're being sarcastic, it's still a bit too pessimistic. As of 2000, the FDA has a median approval time ~12 months for NME (new molecular entities, which this discovery would fall under)!!

    http://www.fda.gov/cder/reports/reviewtimes/default.htm

    "New drug approval times also have been dramatically reduced (from a median of 22 months in 1992 to a median of less than 12 months in 1999), although a slight increase was seen for the year 2000. The charts below illustrate this and the relationship between FDA review time for New Drug Applications (NDAs) and actual, start-to-finish, drug approval times. All figures refer to approvals for New Molecular Entities (NMEs)."
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckb2001 View Post
    Even if you're being sarcastic, it's still a bit too pessimistic. As of 2000, the FDA has a median approval time ~12 months for NME (new molecular entities, which this discovery would fall under)!!

    http://www.fda.gov/cder/reports/reviewtimes/default.htm

    "New drug approval times also have been dramatically reduced (from a median of 22 months in 1992 to a median of less than 12 months in 1999), although a slight increase was seen for the year 2000. The charts below illustrate this and the relationship between FDA review time for New Drug Applications (NDAs) and actual, start-to-finish, drug approval times. All figures refer to approvals for New Molecular Entities (NMEs)."

    while I was being slightly sarcastic.... I have my doubts about it ever getting approved and/or produced. Think of the billions that would be lost by drug companies that currently produce the treatments for cancer now, if this hit the market. One single cure-all for cancer...that's naturally produced ... could never recoup the money that is made by selling the variety that's being used now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WharfRat View Post
    while I was being slightly sarcastic.... I have my doubts about it ever getting approved and/or produced. Think of the billions that would be lost by drug companies that currently produce the treatments for cancer now, if this hit the market. One single cure-all for cancer...that's naturally produced ... could never recoup the money that is made by selling the variety that's being used now.
    and this i the reason why I hate people, The hell with saving man kind and saving our world. I need to make my millions.

    bleh
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    Quote Originally Posted by WharfRat View Post
    while I was being slightly sarcastic.... I have my doubts about it ever getting approved and/or produced. Think of the billions that would be lost by drug companies that currently produce the treatments for cancer now, if this hit the market. One single cure-all for cancer...that's naturally produced ... could never recoup the money that is made by selling the variety that's being used now.
    I know we've all heard these arguments before (hell, I've even made them when someone ignores that). But, there is something most people who just say this are not taking into account: competition.

    See, the number of different laboratories out there working on DIFFERENT possible cancer treatments or cures are so numerous it really doesn't pay to think "we shouldn't do this research because it will be a cure.. let's just focus on treatment" unless you are a huge pharmaceutical company.

    But, what about all these start-ups? That is definitely not the mentality they take. And almost all those start-ups are from university researchers, who neither have the capital nor (in most cases) the ethical quandaries that come with having billions of dollars at one's disposal to pursue such a perverse strategy.

    I think we can accuse Big Pharma of this, but not the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckb2001 View Post
    I know we've all heard these arguments before (hell, I've even made them when someone ignores that). But, there is something most people who just say this are not taking into account: competition.

    See, the number of different laboratories out there working on DIFFERENT possible cancer treatments or cures are so numerous it really doesn't pay to think "we shouldn't do this research because it will be a cure.. let's just focus on treatment" unless you are a huge pharmaceutical company.

    But, what about all these start-ups? That is definitely not the mentality they take. And almost all those start-ups are from university researchers, who neither have the capital nor (in most cases) the ethical quandaries that come with having billions of dollars at one's disposal to pursue such a perverse strategy.

    I think we can accuse Big Pharma of this, but not the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

    Trust me... I hope you're right, and I hope that it does get mass produced and made readily available.... but....
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