Mould could defeat bone marrow cancer

A by-product of a common wood mould, chaetocin, has been shown to kill multiple myeloma, offering hope that it could be used as an anti-myeloma agent, say US researchers.

They proposed that chaetocin, which is structurally similar to anti-cancer agents known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs), could have potent anti-myeloma properties.

For the study, excess and waste bone marrow cells were taken from patient samples. Patient bone marrow leukocytes were then divided into myeloma and normal leukocyte fractions using magnetic technology.

The effects of chaetocin on the bone marrow leukocytes was assessed under fluorescent light to identity viable, apoptotic and dead cells.

The in vivo effects of chaetocin were examined in mice with cancerous tumours.

The mice were injected twice weekly with 0.25mg/kg of chaetocin and measured for changes in tumour size.

The researchers found that chaetocin killed all myeloma cells that were used in the study and reduced tumour growth in the mice.

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