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New Drug Fights Cancer

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Reuters reports that a new drug, "Lodamin" helps stop primary tumors and prevents their spread.

A drug developed using nanotechnology and a fungus that contaminated a lab experiment may be broadly effective against a range of cancers, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.

The drug, called lodamin, was improved in one of the last experiments overseen by Dr. Judah Folkman, a cancer researcher who died in January. Folkman pioneered the idea of angiogenesis therapy -- starving tumors by preventing them from growing blood supplies.

Lodamin is an angiogenesis inhibitor that Folkman's team has been working to perfect for 20 years. Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, his colleagues say they developed a formulation that works as a pill, without side-effects.

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Tests in mice showed it worked against a range of tumors, including breast cancer, neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, brain tumors known as glioblastomas and uterine tumors.

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Harvard's Donald Ingber discovered the fungus by accident while trying to grow endothelial cells -- the cells that line blood vessels. The mold affected the cells in a way known to prevent the growth of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries.

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The researchers believe lodamin may also be useful in other diseases marked by abnormal blood vessel growth, such as age-related macular degeneration.