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Lymphoma Cells Shown to be Destroyed by Experimental Drug Combination

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Lymphoma Cells Shown to be Destroyed by Experimental Drug Combination

A new laboratory experiment reveals that if the drugs ibrutinib and bortezomib (two experimental drugs used to treat different types of cancer) are combined, it could lead to a new, potentially potent, therapy for numerous types of blood cancer. The current targets for this novel therapy scheme are DLBCL (diffuse large Bcell lymphoma) and MCL (mantle cell lymphoma). The study was recently published in the journal British Journal of Hematology.

According to the reports, the experimental combination between the two drugs was able to kill cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, researchers reveal that the combination wasn’t as toxic on normal cells, when compared to other marketed drugs. The first drug, ibrutinib, has been recently developed as an inhibitor of the B-cell receptor complex. The BCR complex plays a major role in the survival of malignant B-cells. So far, the results of initial trials with ibrutinib show promise for patients suffering from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The combination proved to be a very potent against lymphoma cells that developed resistance against bortezomib.

Lymphoma Cells


“Bortezomib is currently used to treat MCL and multiple myeloma, but, unfortunately, many patients develop resistance to the drug”, said the main author of the study, Steven Grant, whilst adding that such a potent drug is required in order to address the need for effective medication for patients suffering from these rare medical conditions. The research team conducted their tests on specially cultivated DLBCL and MCL cells and discovered that ibrutinib is responsible for blocking certain molecular pathways that are used by the cancerous cells. When combined with bortezomib, an elevated level of synergy was observed. The synergy between the two drugs is responsible for inducing apoptosis in the cancerous cells. According to the researchers, some of the pathways blocked by ibrutinib are related to the pathways that are used by cancerous cells to survive the action of bortezomib.

Further studies reveal that the pathways blocked by the action of ibrutinib are NF-?B, ERK1/2 and AKT. These three pathways are responsible for the cellular ability to adapt to various harmful environmental stimuli. Precedent studies have shown that these three pathways are responsible for the biological processes that are needed for the survival and proliferation on cancerous cells. The research team managed to show that a chemical such as ibrutinib is able to aid the action of a proteasome inhibitors, thus making it a potential combination for new, future cancer therapies.