Ann Arbor, MI — May 16, 2012 — Research at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry may shed some light on why a common chemotherapy drug may, when used, result in cancer cells growing more easily.
Dr. Laurie McCauley, professor in the School’s Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine and principal investigator of the study, noted that prostate and breast cancer often spread to bones. The study found that when the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide is administered it can suppress certain bone marrow cells that help the immune system but that it also increases some harmful cells that encourage metastasis.
The good news is that researchers were able to reverse the tumor-friendly effects of the drug by using a cell-communicating protein in the bone marrow, CCL2. McCauley said further research may eventually lead to developing new drugs that prevent local cancers from spreading.
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care, and community service. General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the School to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan. Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia, and public agencies. Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide. For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.