Breakthrough Revealed Which Reduces The Toxicity Of Anti-Cancer Drugs On Cardiac Cells

A woman discussing chemotherapy

The breakthrough may help those suffering from breast cancer. Credit: Freepik

Chemotherapy is a vital cancer treatment, but its effectiveness is often hindered by side effects that harm healthy cells, including those in the heart.

Now, researchers have unveiled a breakthrough that promises to reduce the toxicity of anti-cancer drugs on cardiac cells.

This promising development, reported by InfoSalus on Friday, September 1, has been published in the journal ‘Stem Cell Reports.’

The report considers doxorubicin (dox), a commonly used chemotherapy drug for breast cancer and certain blood cancers.

Unfortunately, up to one-third of patients receiving high doses of doxorubicin experience heart damage, which, over time, may lead to heart failure.

Dox, like cancer cells, can infiltrate normal heart cells, inflicting damage to their DNA and ultimately causing cell death.

To address this issue and enhance dox’s specificity for cancer cells, a team of researchers led by Arun Sharma, Xiaojiang Cui, and their colleagues at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, in collaboration with scientists from Sunstate Biosciences Inc. in the United States, has developed a new approach.

They have encased dox within a protective protein shell, resulting in a new formulation called SPEDOX-6.

SPEDOX-6 increases the drug’s likelihood of being absorbed by rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, while concurrently reducing its toxicity to cardiac cells.

Laboratory experiments, which involved human cancer cells and cardiac cells derived from human stem cells, demonstrated that SPEDOX-6, much like dox, was highly toxic to cancer cells but significantly gentler on normal human cardiac cells than conventional dox.

The same positive outcome was observed with cardiac cells derived from patients at a heightened risk of dox-induced cardiac damage due to genetic mutations.

These findings underline that SPEDOX-6 exhibits lower toxicity toward cardiac cells while preserving its anti-cancer efficacy.

Currently, plans are underway to initiate a clinical trial aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of SPEDOX-6 in cancer patients.

This groundbreaking research holds the potential to mitigate a significant downside of chemotherapy, paving the way for safer and more effective cancer treatments.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.