Sugar-Free Cancer Therapy

Kaposi sarcoma may have a new therapeutic target

(RxWiki News) Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a soft-tissue cancer that’s associated with a herpes virus. KS is seen in many people who are HIV positive. The tumors show up as purple, red or brown spots. A new treatment for this condition could be in the works.

A protein that thrives on sugar – galectin-1 – plays a role in KS and other tumors. An animal study showed that blocking this protein also blocked the growth of KS tumors.

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A group of researchers at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina conducted the study.

The galectin-1 protein urges tumors to grow and spread by helping to build a network of blood vessels. This is called angiogenesis.

In this study, researchers found that blocking (inhibiting) galectin-1 in mice with Kaposi sarcomas slowed down tumor growth.

This response was due, in part, because it became harder for blood vessels feeding the tumor to develop.

The researchers concluded that if this same response is seen in humans, new drugs that target galectin-1 could be developed as an effective treatment for Kaposi sarcoma.

They also contend, that such drugs might also work with other diseases that have abnormal blood vessel growth, such as macular degeneration and cardiovascular diseases.

Findings from this study were published October 1 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Review Date: 
October 2, 2012
Last Updated:
October 4, 2012