Conversion Therapy

Research may yield drugs that convert sarcoma (muscle cancer) cells into healthy muscle fibers

(RxWiki News) Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital have identified the cell of origin for muscle cancer known as sarcoma.

According to the research, adult and childhood sarcomas are linked in biology, mutations and cells of origin. The discovery may yield non-chemotherapy treatments to inhibit molecular targets (i.e. growth factor receptors) and thus eradicate the sarcoma.

Common treatment calls for sarcomas to be destroyed, burned or cut out, but a fourth option exists, which calls for sarcoma cancer cells to be changed into healthy muscle cells, according to the research. This conversion treatment would include drugs that convert cancers into non-cancerous muscle fibers, according to lead investigator Charles Keller, M.D., leader of Pediatric Cancer Biology Program in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Sarcomas are deadly, killing 60 percent to 80 percent of those diagnosed -- and in adults with soft tissue sarcomas, survival can be even lower. The survival rate has remained about the same for the past 40 years.

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Review Date: 
February 21, 2011