Researchers have found a way to trigger the release of a natural substance in the body that kills cancer cells without harming normal cells. Experiments done at the University of Utah so far show promise in cells grown in the laboratory... and in mice.
Though the university's study involved only cell cultures in a lab and some mice, it's hoped children and adults someday may be the beneficiaries of this latest discovery.
It involves a familiar compound to the body called Nitric Oxide.
The substance is produced naturally to control blood pressure. The immune system uses it to fight off microbes and other invaders. The compound even has a place in how the brain performs.
The body keeps Nitric Oxide in control so it doesn't become deadly. But researchers found if you can trigger a reaction between enzymes in a cancer cell and a new experimental drug containing what is called JS-K, Nitric Oxide, will be released in abundance only in the cancer, including tumor cells to commit suicide, especially in AML.
The cancer cells cannot escape as they often do with other therapies.
In addition to AML, Nitric Oxide shows promise in killing a broad range of other cancers, including prostrate cancer.
Research so far is in its early stages. Human critical trials if approved, are probably still at least five years down the road.