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New study unveils how cancer drug causes heart failure


11:08, November 16, 2012

HOUSTON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A drug that kills cancer by damaging DNA also attacks heart muscle, which for some patients leads to heart failure, a new study by U.S. scientists shows.

Scientists at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital have discovered how the drug, doxorubicin, attacks the heart, opening potential new options to prevent or minimize the drug's life- threatening side effects, according to the online edition of Texas Medical Center News released Thursday.

Doxorubicin, brand names Adriamycin and Rubex, is a 50-year-old chemotherapy drug still widely used against a variety of cancers, including breast, ovarian, lung and bladder cancers as well as leukemia and lymphoma. "However, its use is limited by its cardiotoxicity. We're excited because we've identified the molecular basis for doxorubicin's damage to the heart," said Edward T.H., chair of MD Anderson's cardiology department and senior author of the study.

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