Local researchers find promising method to slow cancer growth

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:14 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - University of Arizona Cancer Center researchers recently found a promising method to battle cancer, slow its growth and overcome drug resistance.

Dr. Noel Warfel, an associate professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Arizona, is leading the study.

“For the past 20 years or so there has been a big push in drugs that are doing just what we’re trying to do, disrupt blood vessels, but they haven’t worked because the cancer cells find new ways to turn on and grow new blood vessels,” he said.

Dr. Warfel and his team have identified a specific protein in our bodies that cancer cells use to grow and found ways to cut off this protein. When combined with already approved cancer drugs, they’re finding very promising results.

“It was really impressive with how well it worked. It completely made tumors stop growing until we removed the drugs. Even after we removed the drugs, they moved much more slowly in animal models,” he said.

His goal is to eventually use this method in human clinical trials and roll it out to patients in the future. He says its thanks to these types of studies that progress is being made in the fight against cancer.

“There’s never going to be a golden bullet that wipes out all kinds of cancers,” he said. “It’s the basic research that we get to do at the bench discovering these molecules.”

Dr. Warfel is hopeful it will lead to much more effective therapies and avoid harsh treatments like chemo and radiation. The researchers believe their method will apply to almost any type of cancer.

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