News Feature | February 7, 2014

Can JAK Inhibitors Treat Stomach And Colorectal Cancers?

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By Marcus Johnson

A class of drugs called JAK inhibitors are currenting being used as a treatment for myelofibrosis, a condition that mimics cancer in a number of ways. Researchers are determining if JAK inhibitors can be used to treat stomach and colorectal cancers as well as other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In a report printed in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics publication, researchers found that JAK inhibitors curb the fast paced growth of stomach inflammation in colorectal cancer.

The researchers are studying a link between stomach inflammation and digestive track cancers, investigating how that inflammation influences cancer development in those areas. Researchers hypothesize that if they limit the level of inflammation in the stomach, they can reduce the number of cases that actually produce cancer cells. The researchers found that JAK proteins promote development cancer cells in both the bowel and the stomach. When JAK inhibitors were introduced to patients, JAK proteins were blocked and much of the inflammation growth was slowed, along with a reduction in tumors and cancer cells.

JAK inhibitors have already been produced by drug companies. One of the researchers involved in the study said, “The reason this discovery is particularly exciting is clinical trials have already shown that JAK proteins can be safely and successfully inhibited in patients.” He adds that this will shorten the time it takes to bring their "research to possible clinical trials that may improve the outlook for people with stomach and bowel cancer.”