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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Hormone takes up fight against cancer

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) recently signed a license agreement with AhR Pharmaceuticals for exclusive rights to the development and use of ITE, a hormone that has the potential to treat some types of cancer and obesity.

The original intent of the experiments was to develop a cancer-fighting hormone. It was also discovered during testing that it has the potential to combat obesity as well.

This hormone affects many biological processes in the body including cell division and blood vessel formation. The failure of these processes often leads to obesity and cancer. ITE can help both regulate and control these processes.

ITE can fight both obesity and cancer because of the connections between the two diseases. Although cancer and obesity are different diseases with different effects, some types of cancer have origins and mechanisms in common with obesity.

In an email interview with AhR Chief Scientific Officer Jiasheng (Jason) Song, he explained why regulating cell division inhibits the development and spread of both these diseases.

“Once the cancer cells can no longer divide, the cancer will stop growing and may start dying,” said Song. “Similarly, if primitive fat cells (the precursor cells destined to become fat cells) are prevented from dividing, our body will have less supply for fat storage.”

ITE can also limit the formation of new blood vessels. All cells need blood to live, even cancer cells. The formation of extraneous blood vessels can facilitate the growth of cancer cells. If blood vessel growth is limited, harmful and infectious cells are less likely to thrive because of the lack of nutrients.

“Cancers cannot grow beyond 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter without newly formed blood vessels to supply nutrients with oxygen and remove wastes,” said Song. “Similarly, fat tissue relies on newly formed blood vessels to support its survival and expansion.”

Although ITE has many effects that control both diseases, its functions are more effective against obesity. The two primary biological components in the growth of obesity are fat storage and brain signals.

Some obesity treatments can also contribute to the growth of cancer because they involve higher volumes of insulin, a hormone on which cancer cells thrive.

“All of the scenarios involve increased levels of insulin in obesity patients while certain cancer cells are extremely happy when plenty of insulin is available to them,” said Song.

The tests done to evaluate the effectiveness of ITE have only been performed on mice through xenografting, a process where human cancer cells are implanted in mice.

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Experiments show that ITE may be able to fight cancer of the prostate, liver, ovary, breast, lung and liver. These effects have only been confirmed on a very small-scale basis, and further experiments will need to be done in order to ascertain the effectiveness and safety of ITE if used to treat humans.

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