Australian researchers discovered a breakthrough “Two Bird one stone approach” that is effective for the treatment of Lung cancers in mice. Also, the approach prevented the occurrence of Kidney damage which is the common side effect of chemotherapy. The scientists found that naturally occurring hormone in the human body follistatin not only blocks activin but also prevents kidney damage. Activin is activated in response to damage caused by chemotherapy and induces kidney damage.
It is often said that discoveries happen accidentally in science and the same applies here as well. Although, there have been major advances in the immunology of cancer, but the majority of patients are still treated by chemotherapy using a drug called Cisplatin. Less than one-third of the patients will benefit from it, however, they often develop side effects that include chemotherapy. So. professor Atkins and his team from the Garvan Institute of Medical research in collaboration with Dr Keiron Marinin from Hudson University have ventured to find out ways to improve the treatment.
How the team discovered Two Bird one stone approach?
Then they stumbled upon Activin, which is the chief culprit for Chemotherapy resistance as well as chemotherapy Induced chemical damage. The team discussed the issue with Professor David De Krester form Monash University, who also happens to be the founder of Parata Biosciences in 2011. During his association with Monash University, David De Krester found a natural hormone called Follistatin blocks Activin. He has been working since 2011 to develop Follistatin as a drug for the treatment of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases.
Based on his suggestion, David De Krester and his team employed follistatin in combination with platinum chemotherapy in mice. To their surprise, they found that there was a visible decrease in the size of lung cancer lumps in mice and also these mice survived longer. They also discovered that it prevented kidney damage in mice. Professor Watkins said that follistatin use is the safest and effective way to improve the potential of chemotherapy in lung cancers and also to reduce kidney damage.
The team are now looking to study the effectiveness of this combination in tumours such as head, neck and bladder cancers, that use Platinum chemotherapy.