UGA researchers have developed a new medication that promises to reduce many of the negative side effects caused by cisplatin, a commonly prescribed chemotherapy treatment.
Cisplatin may be used to treat a variety of cancers, but it most commonly is prescribed for cancer of the bladder, ovaries, cervix, testicles and lung. Cisplatin is an effective drug, but it often causes severe and irreversible damage to a patient’s kidneys, hearing and sense of balance.
UGA researchers combined cisplatin with aspirin in a new single prodrug formulation they call Platin-A. Prodrugs allow scientists to have more control over the simultaneous release of both drugs and how long it remains active. They reported their findings recently in Angewandte Chemie, a journal published by the German Chemical Society.
“We know that inflammation plays a major role in the development of these side effects,” said Rakesh Pathak, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral research associate in the chemistry department. “By attaching aspirin to cisplatin, we can help control this response and reduce damage to the body.”
Reducing these negative side effects not only will provide the patient with a better quality of life during and after treatment, but it also may make oncologists less hesitant to prescribe cisplatin.
Prodrugs like Platin-A enter the body in a mostly inactive state, but they are converted to their active state after going through normal metabolic processes.
“You could administer aspirin separately from chemotherapy, but it would not be as effective as this prodrug formulation,” said Shanta Dhar, an assistant professor of chemistry in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator for the project. “It’s a bit like making a cocktail. You could drink each of the ingredients one by one, but it works much better if you put it all in the same glass first.”
Both Dhar and Pathak caution that their experimental results are preliminary, and they must do more work before this is tested in living organisms. However, they say the new formulation shows great promise.
Other authors are Joshua Choi, Sean Marrache and Trenton Berding.