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Irish cancer scientists discover leukemia wonder drug

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Loveofireland, some more cancer drugs discovered by irish scientists.
Irish cancer scientists find wonder cure
By Cormac Murphy
Monday November 02 2009

Irish scientists have discovered a wonder drug which they say is able to kill leukemia cells.

Tests show that the drug, called PBOX-15, can even kill cells from patients not benefiting from current treatments.

The ground-breaking work was carried out by researchers at Trinity College in Dublin.

Professor Mark Lawler of the university's Institute of Molecular Medicine described it as an important development.

The discovery is the second major medical breakthrough announced by scientists in Ireland in recent days.

Researchers at University College Cork revealed last week that molecules found in a curry spice were shown to kill oesophageal cancer cells.

The researchers found when they treated oesophageal cancer cells in the laboratory with curcumin -- a chemical found in the curry spice turmeric -- it killed cancer cells within 24 hours.

Their finding was published in the British Journal of Cancer.

curry

Dr Sharon McKenna, lead researcher on the study at the Cork Cancer Research Centre in UCC, said cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy were very sensitive to this compound.

She said there is potential for it to be developed as an agent to treat resistant oesophageal cancer cells.

Dr McKenna said turmeric, the ingredient which gives curry rice its yellow colour, is broken down in the blood.

It is necessary to find a way to ensure the compound stays in the circulatory system for longer to give it time to kill cancer cells.

Dr McKenna said she would now be testing it on other types of cancer.

Professor Gerald O'Sullivan, director of the Cork Cancer Research Centre, said: "The incidence of oesophageal cancer has gone up by more than a half since the 1970s, particularly in the western world, and this is thought to be linked to rising rates of obesity, alcohol intake and reflux disease, so finding ways to both treat and prevent this disease is extremely important.

"The development of natural compounds as chemo-preventative agents is also a very promising area of research."

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