The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has established a method of making dramatic improvements in cancer treatment. The TSRI scientists, led by Dale L. Boger, can now enhance the cell-killing capabilities of vinblastine even further. Vinblastine has been a path-breaking drug which is majorly used in chemotherapy for the last few decades.
The Scripps Research Institute
The scientific team at the institute has come up with a modified version of the drug, which ended up showing up to 200 times better potency than traditional vinblastine. Another significant improvement is that the new compounds are capable of overcoming the kind of drug desistance which occurs after the treatment relapse. This is why a continuous usage of vinblastine has not been successful for some patients.
The researchers are expecting similar improvements in vincristine which is frequently used against Hodgkin's disease and childhood leukaemia. They believe that the effectiveness of the drug can significantly improve following the same procedure.
Both vincristine and vinblastine are naturally obtained from Madagascar periwinkle, a herb with pink flowers. The leaves of the plant were the first to be used for medical purpose, as those are prominent parts of traditional medicines for haemorrhoids and diabetes. It was only in the 1960s when Eli Lilly drug researchers discovered the high potential of both compounds as anticancer agents.
Vincristine and vinblastine have been exemplary in cancer treatment. Nevertheless, there is one flip side. When these two are used for an extended period of time, they may cause a powerful drug resistance. However, as Mr Boger and his colleagues discovered last year, the modification they made with vinblastine was successful in maintaining the drug's effectivity against resistance.
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