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Which Peptides Are Used In Cancer Treatment And Why?

Peptides, smaller versions of proteins, are short chains of amino acids typically made up of 2 to 50 different amino acids. Your body makes peptides, some are present in certain foods, and some are created in labs and designed to mimic the body’s natural peptides. There are different types of peptides, and each type has its own function. One of these potential functions includes cancer treatment.

Cancer is defined as a disease that causes some of the body’s cells to grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Finding effective treatments is vital to cancer patients’ survival and quality of life. Today, we take a look at the peptides currently being studied for cancer treatment.

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Which peptides are used in cancer treatment?

Several peptides are currently used or under investigation for treating cancer, but one of the most well-known peptides used in cancer therapy is the Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNF-a). TNF-a is a protein that plays an essential role in the immune system’s inflammatory response to infections, but it can induce tumor regression in high concentrations.

In addition to TNF-a, several other peptides are being investigated for cancer treatment.

Bombesin peptides

These peptides target specific receptors on cancer cells, which could be useful for directing chemotherapy drugs only to cancer cells and leaving healthy cells intact.

Cyclic peptide libraries

Researchers are using cyclic peptide libraries to develop new therapies because they can be easily modified and synthesized to target particular receptors or enzymes present in tumor cells.

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Exenatide

Originally used as a treatment for diabetes, this peptide is being investigated for its ability to slow the growth of certain pancreatic cancers.

GHRH (growth hormone-releasing hormone)1

This peptide has been found to suppress tumor growth in patients with lung cancer and other cancers.

GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)2

This peptide has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in cases of bladder cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, glioblastoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.

Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) peptides

Known as a promising means of targeted chemotherapy delivery for certain cancers by attaching specific antigens or radioisotopes directly targeting cancer cells through LHRH receptors located mainly on tumor cells.

Peptides hold promise for developing new treatments against cancers through their ability to target specific receptors on cell surfaces and modulate several biological pathways involved in disease progressions, like angiogenesis or cell proliferation. However, it is essential to remember that research into these therapeutic agents is ongoing, with many challenges faced before they reach clinical practice.

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Benefits of peptide therapy in cancer treatment

Peptide therapy can be used to combat cancer cells because peptides can be used as a cytotoxic agent through a number of mechanisms, or they can act as a carrier of cytotoxic agents and radioisotopes by specifically targeting cancer cells.3

Currently, peptide-based cancer vaccines are being studied. These vaccines work by combining an anticancer peptide with a nonpeptidic cytotoxic drug or combining immunotherapy with conventional therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is an important treatment for somatostatin receptor (SSTR)-positive tumors because it has been shown to improve the quality of life in cancer patients by improving appetite, general well-being, Karnofsky score, and weight. Side effects of this treatment are typically mild.4

Challenges in the use of peptides in cancer treatment

As discussed earlier in this article, there is limited research on peptide therapy for cancer treatment. Although existing studies show promise for peptides in cancer treatment, more research is needed.

Peptide therapy is generally safe as long as you are under the supervision of a medical professional. However, there are side effects associated with peptide therapy.

Side effects of peptide therapy include:

  • Allergic reactions: Some patients may experience allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling.
  • Cardiovascular side effects: Peptides that affect blood pressure and heart function can cause cardiovascular side effects such as hypertension, palpitations, and tachycardia.
  • Cognitive side effects: Peptides affecting the central nervous system can cause cognitive side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects: Peptides affecting the digestive system can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
man having chest pain

Peptide therapy for cancer treatment requires a personalized treatment plan. For example, personalized peptide vaccines are developed from a patient’s own tumor cells and blood. They can be used in colorectal or pancreatic cancer patients that have spread to other parts of the body.

Conclusion

Peptides can be used to treat cancer and help improve the quality of life in cancer patients. Peptide therapy for cancer treatment comes in the form of peptide-based cancer vaccines, combinations of an anticancer peptide and a nonpeptidic cytotoxic drug, or a combination of immunotherapy with conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Some of the peptides currently used or being investigated for use in cancer treatment include:

  • Bombesin peptides
  • Cyclic peptide libraries
  • Exenatide
  • GHRH (growth hormone-releasing hormone)
  • GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)
  • LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone)
  • TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor-alpha)

Peptide therapy has a bright and promising future in cancer treatment. It is often more well-tolerated than traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, and it can be combined with traditional treatments to enhance their effectiveness. More research is needed to better understand the role and effectiveness of peptide therapy for cancer treatment, but research is ongoing, and the field is expanding.

Some peptide products are available over the counter and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Although it may be tempting to take matters into your own hands and start a peptide treatment on your own, it is vital that you only use peptides recommended by a doctor and only at the approved dose and frequency of treatment.

Revitalize With Peptide Therapy

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that serve as building blocks for proteins and play crucial roles in many biological functions. Combat age-related decline of peptides in your body with our scientifically formulated peptides, which offer a range of health benefits:

SERMORELIN - Boost lean muscle & reduce fat.

GHK-CU - Promote skin rejuvenation & firmness.

PT-141 - Intensify sexual desire & function.

Order today and receive your peptides at home, where you can self-administer your treatments with ease.

Peptide Shots - Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in our peptides injections?

There are many different peptide injections that we offer as part of a peptide therapy including Sermorelin, GHK-CU and PT-141.

What is SERMORELIN?

Sermorelin is a synthetic form of GHRH (growth hormone-releasing hormone) which controls the hGH (human growth hormone) and it’s recommended to people who have low levels of hGH. 

How do peptides improve your sleep?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter present in the brain that releases chemicals as messages to your brain and body that it is time to go to sleep. Some peptides can interact with serotonin. Serotonin regulation issues can definitely interfere with a person's ability to have a good night's sleep.

Sermorelin is recognized for their potency as peptides that enhance sleep.

How do peptides improve immune health?

The immune response can be either blocked or stimulated to produce tolerance using peptides and peptidomimetics as immunomodulating agents.

Read more: Peptide Shots FAQ

References

[1] Schally AV. - Agonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) inhibit human experimental cancers in vivo by down-regulating receptors for GHRH;

[2] Gründker C. - The Role of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone in Cancer Cell Proliferation and Metastasis.;

[3] Thundimadathil J. - Cancer treatment using peptides: current therapies and future prospects.;

[4] Traub-Weidinger T. - Improved Quality of Life in Patients Treated with Peptide Radionuclides;