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Submission + - Colchicine targets tumor blood supply (

Giant Electronic Bra writes: The drug, known as a "vascular disrupting agent" (VDA), is based on colchicine — a highly toxic substance in the flowers, leaves and seeds of the autumn crocus. Previous attempts to employ it to fight cancer have failed because of the compound's extreme toxicity, but Prof Patterson's team found a way of rendering the drug harmless until it was exposed to a protein enzyme called MMP1 only found in tumours.

"Our novel delivery method uses the presence of this active MMP to activate the drug, which attacks and breaks down cancer blood vessels, destroying the tumour's lifeline", said Prof Patterson, who will outline the research at the British Science Festival taking place at the University of Bradford this week.

Tumor angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels in solid cancers, has long been seen as a key process in tumor development and growth. Could this new form of colchicine finally provide a way to disrupt tumor blood supply and provide a magic bullet against many forms of cancer? Human trials may begin in as little as 18 to 24 months.

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