MAR 31, 2019 07:30 PM PDT

Chemopreventative Drug Targets H. Pylori Infections

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A chemopreventative drug being tested for its ability to inhibit the production of cell growth in multiple types of cancer was found to act directly on the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)--specifically during the treatment process of preventing stomach cancer.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the chemopreventative drug--DFMO (difluoromethylornithine)—was found to reduce the virulent characteristics of an H. pylori infection which serves as the primary cause of gastric cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

The H. pylori bacterium infects roughly half of the human population, but only 1 percent of the infected individuals will develop stomach cancer. Although the infection is treatable for stomach cancer prevention, it is not exactly clear who can or can’t be treated. Additionally, the infection might actually incur beneficial effects as esophageal reflux diseases, asthma and other allergic disorders will occur more frequently in those infected with H. pylori.

Learn more about H. pylori infections:

"H. pylori has co-evolved with humans for at least 60,000 years, probably longer, and attempting to prevent stomach cancer by eliminating the infection with widespread use of antibiotics is not necessarily a good idea," said Keith Wilson, MD, Thomas F. Frist Sr. Professor of Medicine and professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. "Our study suggests that it might be possible to reduce the virulence of the bacteria, without having to eliminate it. It's a speculative and unusual way to think about an infection, but it could be an interesting strategy."

DFMO was demonstrated in H. pylori-infected animal models to inhibit an enzyme responsible for the production of polyamines, which are cell growth compounds implicated in the development of stomach cancer. These research findings are now the basis of an ongoing clinical trial where DFMO is being used for stomach cancer prevention in Honduras and Puerto Rico.

Source: Vanderbilt Medical University

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 20, 2019
Re-Evaluating a Popular Heart Failure Drug
A recent study found that the popular heart drug--sacubitril/valsartan—holds positive effects on the structure and function of the failing heart. Spe...
NOV 20, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 20, 2019
Do Nootropics Really Boost Brain Function?
  Nootropics are a broad range of both natural and artificial compounds though to improve cognitive function. Including everything from caffeine to Ad...
NOV 20, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
NOV 20, 2019
How Does Ketamine Treat Depression?
In recent years, ketamine has received growing interest for its neuroprotective effects. Known to alleviate symptoms of depression in just hours whereas co...
NOV 20, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 20, 2019
Breast Cancer Drug Increases Survival for Prostate Cancer Patients
A breast cancer drug is better at treating advanced prostate cancer in some men than current therapies, a clinical trial shows....
NOV 20, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 20, 2019
Heart Attacks Without The Risk
Following a heart attack, as the heart heals, scar tissue forms. This issue is less flexible than healthy heart tissue and may encumber the heart's abi...
NOV 20, 2019
Microbiology
NOV 20, 2019
Antibody Discovered That May be the Key to a Universal Flu Vaccine
Instead of designing a new flu vaccine every year, researchers have made a breakthrough that may lead to a single vaccine that protects against all strains....
Loading Comments...