New drugs may help kill bowel cancer

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Scientists from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research found drugs that are being tested to treat leukemia could also be used to fight bowel cancer.

The research is published in Science Advances and was conducted by Dr. Chunhua Wan et al.

In the study, the team used Nobel Prize-winning genetic screening technology CRISPR to identify new targets for bowel cancer tumors when they realized that the gene KMT2A—usually associated with Acute Myeloid Leukemia—promotes bowel cancer.

It does this by fuelling the uncontrolled growth of the tumor and encouraging the cancer cell’s ability to ‘self-renew,” preventing the tumor from regression or differentiation.

The team then trialed two agents that inhibit KMT2A and found that these block bowel cancer growth and self-renewal, with very little damage to normal cells.

These inhibitors are very similar to others that are currently in clinical trials to treat leukemia.

The team says targeting this gene, KMT2A, reverses the aggressiveness of bowel cancer cells, and re-educates them to become normal cells.

Targeted therapy is a relatively new way of treating bowel cancer.

It has many advantages over conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as it only affects cancer cells, is better tolerated by patients and has fewer side effects.

The team says their findings may pave the way to developing new targeted therapies and benefit the treatment of bowel cancer patients.

Bowel cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the Australian general population.

About 300 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer every week and more than 100 Australians die from the disease.

Australian women have an eight percent risk and men have a 10 percent risk of developing bowel cancer.

If you care about bowel health, please read studies about diet that could reduce inflammation by boosting gut health, and why some people more likely to have bowel diseases.

For more information about bowel diseases, please see recent studies about why a glass of red wine is good for your gut, and results showing exercise could reduce your bowel cancer risk.

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