Yesterday a Canadian research team announced the discovery of a new application for an old antibiotic for skin and abdominal infections. Turns out the drug tigecycline can target and destroy leukemia cells at the cellular level.
The novelty lies in how the team learned of this drug’s potential to fight leukemia. Dr. Aaron Schimmer’s team amassed a library of hundreds of known drugs to learn what potential leukemia drugs might be hiding in plain sight. A high-speed robot tested the drugs on leukemic cells and in just three days found a winner with tigecycline. Technology fast-tracked a process that otherwise would have taken months to execute manually.
Along the same lines, an LLS-funded team from Stanford University recently learned how to predict a patient’s response to certain therapies by combining mathematics and medicine. They developed a mathematical formula to measure cancer’s dependence upon one cancer-causing gene. When the gene was blocked, the cancer regressed. The team learned that the regression rate can be used to determine how successful a drug will be. As a result, doctors will be able to make more effective treatment decisions because they will know in advance how a patient might respond to a certain protocol.
These are just two examples that demonstrate the power of multi-disciplinary research and the kinds of returns you can expect to see when you partner with LLS. I invite you to consider making an additional year-end gift at www.LLS.org/donate to help scientists deliver more life-saving breakthroughs and improved therapies to patients.