Cancer team finds hope in blood drugs

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DRUGS routinely given to cancer patients to treat or prevent blood clots could also suppress the growth and spread of tumours, research in Yorkshire has found.

The work at Hull University suggests anti-coagulants could lower the levels of tissue factor, a protein involved in blood clotting, secreted by tumours.

Doctors have previously noted that patients treated with anti-coagulants seem to do better but until now no one knew why.

The team studied the effects of doses of the anti-coagulants on pancreatic cancer cells – an extremely aggressive cancer with high levels of tissue factor – and four other cancer cell types.

Cancer specialist Anthony Maraveya, of Castle Hill Hospital in Hull, said: “What we have here is experimental evidence that a drug that is already known to be safe in humans as an anti-coagulant may also suppress tumour growth directly and reduce resistance to treatment.”

The research was part-funded by the Castle Hill Hospital Charity Fund.