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Scientists Find Combo Drugs that Kill Lung Cancer

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There is hope for lung cancer sufferers worldwide as a breakthrough research has found that the use of two existing drugs could successfully treat the disease.

 

The study delves deep into the molecular survival kit of lung tumours.

 

Many cancer deaths are driven by the KRAS oncogene. KRAS is an essential gene, but in its mutant form, it is an important step in the generation of many types of cancer.

 

For over 30 years, the KRAS oncogene has been a focus of research. Finding a way to remove its teeth would be pivotal in the treatment of a range of cancers.

 

As part of this effort, rather than targeting the gene directly, some scientists have focused on pathways that are related to the errant gene.

 

One pathway of interest centres on insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This pathway helps to regulate the uptake of nutrients into the cell, providing it with the energy and raw ingredients it needs to grow.

 

If the tumour cell’s fuel supply could be severed, its onward march might be halted. However, it is not clear whether KRAS oncogenes are reliant on this particular pathway, and, in clinical trials, results have not been encouraging.

 

In fact, one study in mice found that lung tumours actually became more aggressive after the pathway was suppressed.

 

Attacking KRAS-related pathways

Undeterred, a team from the Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts used a fresh approach. In the mouse study mentioned above, the insulin/IGF-1 signalling pathway was only partially closed off. In the latest study, though, a genetic technique was used that shut it down entirely.

 

To do this, the scientists crossed two strains of genetically modified mice. The first is a well-used model for KRAS-driven lung cancer, and the other is a mouse used to study diabetes that lacks insulin/IGF-1 signalling.

 

In the diabetes mouse model, the insulin/IGF-1 pathway is unshackled by the deletion of two genes: Irs1 and Irs2. These encode “adaptor” proteins, which are essential for the smooth running of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway.

 

“Our study uses a robust way to block insulin/IGF-1 signalling and addresses a long-standing question in KRAS-mutant lung cancer. When you use genetics, results can be more conclusive,” said senior study author Nada Kalaany, Ph.D, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

 

Using their new model, the scientists demonstrated that by suppressing the two adaptor proteins, insulin/IGF-1 signalling is blocked and lung tumours are significantly suppressed:

 

“Almost all animals in this lung cancer model typically die within 15 weeks of KRAS activation,” says Kalaany. “But, the ones that lost both Irs1 and Irs2 were completely fine — we saw almost no tumours at 10 to 15 weeks.”

 

This finding is important because drugs that block insulin/IGF-1 signalling are already in use and freely available.

 

The results are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the preliminary findings are hopeful, the researchers knew that there was more work to be done; cancer is a complex, ever-morphing disease with a terrifying knack for circumventing medical interventions.

 

Outfoxing lung cancer

To observe whether the cancer cells were able to navigate around this new roadblock, the team let the animals live longer to see what happened next.

 

As Kalaany explains, “Sure enough, at around 16 weeks, we started seeing some tumours. So, then we asked, how were these tumour cells able to overcome loss of Irs1 and Irs2?”

 

The answer was found in the levels of essential cellular building blocks: amino acids. Tumour cells lacking the adaptor proteins failed to move amino acids into their cells, despite a plentiful supply outside of the cell.

 

“Growth factors, like IGF-1, tell cells that nutrients are around,” says Kalaany, “so when you suppress their signalling, the tumour cells don’t take up the amino acids and think they are starved.”

 

“But we found that the tumour cells can compensate for this and break down their own proteins to generate amino acids.”

 

So, the KRAS-driven tumours threw out a curve ball: they had, once again, figured out a workaround. By breaking themselves down — in a process known as autophagy — they can generate the raw material they need to thrive.

 

The researchers, however, were one step ahead.

 

Heading cancer off at the pass

Drugs that inhibit protein breakdown are already available. These include chloroquine, which is currently involved in a number of cancer drug trials, and bortezomib, which blocks proteasomes (protein-digesting structures) and is already used to treat myeloma.

 

When the two prongs of the attack were combined, the results were more than encouraging. They found that tumour cells lacking Irs1 and Irs2 did not grow well, and, when the inhibitors were added, growth stopped almost completely.

 

Additional studies will now be needed to understand how these two drug types might interact in a patient. However, this is a considerable breakthrough, and the researchers are excited to take it to the next phase.

 

“Our work tries to identify metabolic dependencies and vulnerabilities in tumours,” says Kalaany. “If we identify collaborators, we would love to have a clinical trial in non-small-cell lung cancer combining IGF-1 inhibitors with autophagy inhibitors or proteasome inhibitors.”

 

By testing to breaking point every part of a tumour cell’s survival kit, researchers will, one day, beat cancer.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Lancaster University Honours Ozigbo, MD/CEO Transcorp Hotels

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Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, managing director/chief executive, Transcorp Hotels Plc, was on Friday conferred the award of a Distinguished Alumni of the Lancaster University. The award was conferred on him at a special convocation ceremony of the university held at its Ghana Campus.

 

Prof. Mark Smith, University’s Vice Chancellor, who spoke during the event, praised Ozigbo for his laudable achievements recorded over the years since he graduated from the university.

 

He said, “Your extraordinary achievements in both the banking and luxury hospitality industries are impressive, as is your passion for promoting youth empowerment through initiatives such as youth leadership forums.

 

“This award is therefore to appreciate these achievements as we believe that your contribution to your field will be an inspiration to current Lancaster University students and their parents,” he noted.

 

Ozigbo who expressed delight over the honour accorded to him by his alma mater, commended the ideals of the school, which according to him contributed immensely towards molding him to the heights he had achieved till date.

 

He said, “My studies at Lancaster University laid a solid foundation in my life for the progress I achieved, because soon after my graduation, I started off with then Standard Trust Bank (which became United Bank for Africa), and was charged with the responsibilities that had global outlook in nature, including managing investment banking clients, embassies and multilaterals and later on global expansion.

 

“So, the fact that this was a top international University and the specialized discipline I majored in, among others, contributed to the decision to work in these international areas. I excelled in each of these areas because Lancaster University exposed and prepared me well. Therefore, I give credit to Lancaster University for my modest achievements,” he said.

 

Ozigbo, a Chevening Scholar, graduated in 2004 from the Lancaster University Management School England with an outstanding Masters Degree in Finance, with Distinction. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Accounting (1994), emerging the best Student in the faculty, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance (2000), both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

 

He is a fellow of many professional bodies, notably Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

 

Since leaving Lancaster University in 2004, Mr. Ozigbo has achieved a lot in both professional, personal and community life. He spent a total of 17 years in the banking industry rising to the level of General Manager before transitioning to the hospitality industry where he led the positive transformation of Transcorp Hotels Plc for over 7 years, winning many awards locally, regionally and globally, including Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality CEO of the Year Award (presented at a global event in Spain).

 

Ozigbo is also known for his youth empowerment works. Apart from leading the effort, with another friend of his in donating books from Lancaster University to the University of Nigeria, where they first graduated from, he has been involved in a number of mentorship, youth empowerment and community development initiatives.

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Hyde Satisfies Consumer Demands with New Retail Station

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Hyde, a global oil and commodities trading company and producer of premium lubricants in Nigeria, has launched a new retail station in Egbeda, Lagos.

This station, the sixth from the company, is in line with the company’s vision to be one of the top five most respected brands in petroleum products trading and delivery in Nigeria.

Equipped with innovative technology, the station is designed to satisfy consumers through product and service delivery.

It will run for 18 hours daily dispensing petrol, diesel and kerosene. Also available for purchase at the station are Hyde Energy’s range of automotive lubricants with various options from synthetic, multi-grade, monograde, specialty oils for tailor-made applications and all types of greases.

Mr. Oladimeji Edwards, CEO of Hyde Limited, stated that the new station is inspired by the Company’s commitment to provide efficient fueling solutions for customers.

“The launch of this station in Egbeda comes as part of our efforts to bring energy closer to our customers. We remain committed to maintaining exceptionally high standards in our product and service offerings and we are certain that our customers will get the best experience at our stations”.

“Quality and excellence define our services and we deliver on our promise through exceptional business management. Our customers are assured of high-quality products at the right pump price and quantity at our stations”. Mr. Edwards added.

On his part, the Head of Retail & Commercial Sales at Hyde Limited, Mr. Sani Usman said, “This new station is a step further in the expansion of our retail fuel business. Hyde sources the highest quality products from highly reputable companies which are stored in own and 3rd -party terminals for onward distribution to Hyde Outlets under strict quality control processes and procedures.

We plan to expand our retail footprints across the country with the next area of entry being the South-East geopolitical zone of the country. By the end of 2018, we would have increased the number of our retail outlets to 10”.

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People in Peaceful Countries more Pessimistic about Peace Prospects than Those in Conflict Zones- According to New Poll

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People in more peaceful countries are more pessimistic about prospects for peace than those in conflict environments, according to a survey of 15 countries commissioned by International Alert and the British Council.

 

The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018, conducted in partnership with global polling agency RIWI, asked people around the world about their perceptions of peace and conflict.

 

It found that the UK topped the list of pessimistic countries, followed by Brazil, the US and Hungary. 40% of respondents in the UK said prospects for peace and security in their country will get worse in the next five years, making them more negative than those living in conflict areas, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 

Across the world, ‘lack of jobs and ability to provide for one’s family’ was seen as the main reason that would push people to violent action.

 

This was followed by a ‘sense of injustice’ and a ‘need to improve one’s social status’. The poll also found that terrorism and criminal violence are people’s top security concerns globally.

 

Over 110,000 people participated in the survey, which was carried out online in Brazil, Colombia, DRC, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, with targeted polling separately undertaken in Northern Ireland.

 

83% of global respondents said having political influence was fundamental for peace and security, with 90% saying the same about access to economic opportunities.

 

People in DRC and South Africa felt the highest levels of political exclusion, with 50% and 44% of those polled respectively saying they are less able to influence the political decisions that affect them, compared to five years ago. This was followed by the UK (41%), Hungary (40%) and the US (37%).

 

Where people felt they had less political influence, they predominantly blamed it on ‘corruption and bribery’ in politics. This was most strongly felt in South Africa, Ukraine and Nigeria.

 

Those who thought they had more political influence attributed it extensively to social media and technology, which ranked top with 28% choosing it.

 

Interestingly, those who felt they had least access to economic opportunities lived in middle- to high-income countries, including Hungary, Ukraine, the UK, Lebanon, the US and South Africa.

 

Most respondents said the most effective way to create long-term peace was through ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’ (27%), followed by ‘supporting societies and communities to resolve conflict peacefully’ (26%).

 

Asked where their governments should spend more to promote peace, the top response was ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’, followed by ‘teaching peace, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools’.

 

Globally, military interventions had the least support, with only 9%selecting it.

 

Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert said: “At a time when conflict is on the rise, the poll shows strong popular support for peacebuilding approaches, which focus on dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place.

 

“The public clearly understand what is needed to build peace. People have crisis fatigue – they want long-term solutions.

 

“Politicians should focus on how to break the cycle of violence by investing more in peacebuilding.”

 

Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council said: “Positive peacebuilding is not just the absence of violent conflict, but the rebuilding of trust and the restoration of relationships that serve the needs of the whole population.

 

“In seeking to understand people’s experience of conflict, and their aspirations for peace, we believe these findings will be useful for leaders and policy-makers facing up to the challenges of peacebuilding.”

 

 

 

 

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