Scientists have identified a new compound that rapidly destroys liver cancer tumors, providing a new treatment weapon against the fifth most common cancer.
Virginia researchers, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the compound -- known as FQI1 – essentially blocks the process tumor cells use to grow and spread.
Their findings, based on laboratory and animal studies, could soon lead to new medications to treat liver cancer, said lead researcher Dr. Devanand Sarkar, with the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.
"We may be on the verge of developing a new, effective drug for liver cancer," said Sarkar. "In the last two to three years, we … have been screening over 110,000 compounds to identify the ones that inhibit [cancer]. We identified FQI1 as one of a class of effective compounds, but we never anticipated it would work this well."
Sarkar said studies are being conducted to determine how the drug behaves in the human body. Once the scientists have determined its safety and effectiveness, they will work with clinicians to translate their findings into its benefits to patients with liver cancer.