LOS ANGELES: In a recent study, researchers examined the effect that APG-157, a botanical plant-based drug that contains curcumin has on neck and head cancer patients. the drug was developed under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Botanical Drug Development: Guidance for Industry. The findings showed that the drug helps patients fight oral and oropharyngeal cancers by reducing the concentration of cytokines in the saliva and could serve as a therapeutic drug in combination with immunotherapy.
According to Cancer.Net, head and neck cancers account
for approximately 4% of all cancers and an estimated 650,000 new cases will be
reported this year. Since current treatment options, such as surgery, radiation
and chemotherapy, often cause adverse effects, there is a strong need for novel
low-toxicity therapies for the effective treatment of cancer patients.
It is pertinent to mention here that curcumin is a
medicinally active drug. Owing to its antioxidant properties and its ability to
reduce swelling and inflammation, curcumin has been proved to help fight
multiple cancers. When taken orally, the drug is poorly absorbed into the
bloodstream. However, a recent study found that, when APG-157 was administered
by oral mucosal absorption, levels of curcumin circulating in the blood were
high and it ended up being absorbed by cancer tissue.
The study was titled “A randomized, phase 1, placebo‐controlled trial of APG-157
in oral cancer demonstrates systemic absorption and an inhibitory effect on
cytokines and tumor‐associated
microbes,” published in Cancer. The researchers
from the University of California, Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer
Center compared the effect of APG-157 in 12 participants who had oral and
oropharyngeal cancer with a control group of 13 participants who did not have
cancer. The medication was administered every hour for 3 hours, and the
researchers collected blood and saliva samples before administering the
medication and 24 hours after the last dosage.
The researchers found that the therapy was successful in
reducing the relative abundance of Bacteroides species, a group of
Gram-negative bacteria that is associated with oral cancer. Additionally,
APG-157 helped attract immune system T cells to the tumor area. This suggests
that, when used in combination with immunotherapy drugs, the therapy could help
the immune system T cells both recognize and kill tumors. Since it has the
potential to hinder the growth of Bacteroides species, the researchers believe
that APG-157 could also improve cancer therapy through oral microbial changes.
The researchers are now planning a Phase 2 trial of APG-157, in which they will study the effect of the drug when given on a longer-term basis and to a larger number of oral cancer patients. They hypothesize that APG-157 will be able to suppress the growth of oral cancer.
-Courtesy by UCLA Newsroom
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