Washington, Mar 14 : Indian researchers at Mayo Clinic have found that a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease and other illnesses might also prove effective in treating cancer patients.
The study led by Dr Sujit Basu, a Mayo Clinic scientist, has revealed that dopamine drug can prevent the growth of new blood vessels thereby reducing cancer progression.
"Researchers now can test this concept in solid tumours where angiogenesis plays a critical role in the growth and progression of these cancers," said Dr. Basu, who completed his M.D. and Ph.D. in Cancer Research from University of Calcutta, India.
"Sometimes new drugs may not be the answer. We looked instead at a novel use for an established product and have found very promising results," he added.
The study was conducted using mouse and laboratory models with sarcoma, a malignant tumour affecting soft tissues.
The research is the first report that dopamine has a role in cancer's use of endothelial progenitor cells to provide a supply line of nourishing blood," he said.
It helps form new blood vessels to feed the cancer.
The findings revealed that dopamine inhibited the transfer of endothelial progenitor cells from the bone marrow into the circulatory system by binding to a specific receptor on the surface of the progenitor cells.
This binding suppresses the activity of matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP-9), an enzyme that enables these cells to move out of bone marrow.
The team found that dopamine significantly decreased mobilation of the progenitor cells from the bone marrow, and it also decreased MMP-9 expression.
"This is the first time it has been shown that an important neurotransmitter like dopamine is regulating the mobilization of these progenitor cells from the bone marrow. This is very important and represents why these findings are so unique," said Dr. Basu.
The team also included Partha Sarathi Dasgupta, Ph.D., a scientist with the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) in Calcutta, India.; and, Debanjan Chakroborty, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at Mayo Clinic and CNCI.
The study is published in the March 13 online issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation.