The drug can put experimental animal cancer cells in a state of permanent sleep. The manufacturing process itself takes almost a decade.
In addition, this drug is the first of its kind. The hope, this drug can later stop the proliferation of cancer cells without harmful side effects.
“We are very excited about the potential of this drug as a completely new weapon to fight cancer,” said Associate Professor Tim Thomas of the Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Research Institute in Melbourne.
Research published in the journal Nature found that these drugs were effective in stopping the development of cancer of the blood and liver in mice, and delaying the recurrence of cancer.
“These drugs can be well tolerated in our preclinical models and are very effective against tumor cells, while apparently not affecting healthy cells,” said Dr. Thomas.
New approaches For information, conventional cancer treatments can indeed cause DNA damage that cannot be changed in cancer cells.
Unfortunately, these treatments also damage healthy cells. Therefore, this new drug is designed to stop the production of specific proteins that promote cancer growth.
Researchers hope these drugs can, effectively, stop the development of cancer or delay its recurrence in humans.
“The drug that we developed is a proven concept … the next step is to develop more suitable compounds that work in the same way but it can be used in cancer patients,” said Dr. Thomas.
He added, it was too early to say how drugs could be used in clinical settings.
But researchers are excited about the different applications. “We can imagine there will be certain cancers where this mechanism we are targeting actually to be a cancer controller, and then in other situations it may be more useful as a therapy to prevent relapse,” he said.
“But we think not all cancers under any circumstances will be vulnerable, and this is because we are targeting a particular mechanism, rather than just growth in general.
“Ever Failed According to Dr. Thomas, a number of major pharmaceutical companies have tried to develop drugs in the past that can inhibit cellular mechanisms in this research center, but they fail.
“This is a protein class that is very difficult to target … it is even considered impossible to be processed,” he said. “We started this 10 years ago and filtered almost a quarter of a million different compounds,” he continued.
He also explained, it took several years to develop very specific compounds that only target certain processes (which are of interest to researchers).
“Then it took several years to show this was really successful in the laboratory model,” he said. “It took about a decade to get to this point … and 52 people have been involved,” said Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Thomas said, the next step was to find an industrial partnership to take the concept of this new drug being tested on humans.
“It’s important that we make sure the treatments are safe, so we need to do a lot of safety and efficacy studies before we can say it’s ready for launch at the clinic,” explains Dr. Thomas.
This research is a long-term collaboration between Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Cancer Therapeutics CRC, The University of Melbourne, Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, and CSIRO.