Breast cancer drug could cut other tumors' blood supply

A long-standing breast cancer drug may have legs as a weapon against other kinds of tumors, according to scientists from the University of Leeds and University College London in the United Kingdom.

Research details are published in the journal PLoS One. Their work revolves around geldanamycin, which targets protein that helps breast cancer spread.

By testing human cells and pursuing various animal models, they showed the drug could indirectly trigger a "cellular quality-control system" that breaks down the protein VEGFR2, a protein that can spur new blood vessel growth. That's a crucial result, because blood vessel growth is something that happens in abundance with tumors. Other drugs in development that similarly target VEGFR2, the researchers note, do this more aggressively, but can cause serious side effects.

The finding, the research team believes, is crucial because the drug could help prevent new blood vessels from forming that are crucial to tumor growth. And the drug, they say, could be a cost-effective way to do so because it is not under patent. But the results must be replicated in people, and human testing is likely a long way off.

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- here's the study