New Cancer Drug Manipulates Signaling, Energy Systems

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3/25/2014 4:26pm
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New Cancer Drug Manipulates Signaling, Energy Systems

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 1:59pm

A revolution in cancer treatment could soon be underway following a breakthrough that may lead to a dramatic improvement in cancer survival rates.

A new study at the University of Warwick, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, has developed a new drug that can manipulate the body’s natural signaling and energy systems, allowing the body to attack and shut down cancerous cells.
Called ZL105, the drug is a compound based on the precious metal iridium. The study has found ZL105 could potentially replace currently used anticancer drugs, which become less effective over time, cause a wide-range of side-effects and damage healthy cells as well as cancerous.
Commenting on the breakthrough, University of Warwick researcher and study co-author Dr. Isolda Romero-Canelon, said: “The energy-producing machinery in cancer cells works to the limit as it attempts to keep up with quick proliferation and invasion. This makes cancer cells susceptible to minor changes in the cell ‘power-house’. Our drug pushes cancer cells over the limit causing them to slow and shut down, whilst normal cells can cope with its effects.”
Preliminary data indicate that the novel drug may be ten times more effective in treating ovarian, colon, melanoma, renal, and some breast cancers, according to data obtained by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The researchers now aim to expand the study to cancers that are inherently resistant to existing drugs and to those which have developed resistance after a first round of chemotherapy treatments.
"Existing cancer treatments often become less effective after the first course, as cancer cells learn how they are being attacked. The drug we have developed is a catalyst and is active at low doses. It can attack cancer cells in multiple ways at the same time, so the cancer is less able to adapt to the treatment. This means the new drugs could be much more effective than existing treatments,” said study co-author, Professor Peter Sadler.  “Platinum-based drugs are used in nearly 50% of all chemotherapeutic regimens, exert their activity by damaging DNA and cannot select between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, leading to a wide-range of side-effects from renal failure to neurotoxicity, ototoxicity, nausea and vomiting."
He added: “In contrast, the new iridium-based drug is specifically designed not to attack DNA, but to have a novel mechanism of action, meaning that it could not only dramatically slow down and halt cancer growth, but also significantly reduce the side effects suffered by patients."
This research could also lead to substantial improvements in cancer survival rates. “Current statistics indicate that one in every three people will develop some kind of cancer during their life time, moreover approximately one woman dies of ovarian cancer every two hours in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK. It is clear that a new generation of drugs is necessary to save more lives and our research points to a highly effective way of defeating cancerous cells,” Romero-Canelon said.
Date: March 25, 2014


I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

How cool is that?  What is their stock trade ID - I want a piece of that!  

Cancer Sucks Shit Happens Nothing is ever 100% bad, there is a reason and silver lining in everything. Sometimes I need a good light and my glasses to find it though. You can't fix stupid.

No kidding. Any idea if this is something that is still in the research phase or maybe going to clinical trials soon? I thought that chemo wasn't very effective for melanoma, would this change that or would it be something paired with the new immunotherapy drugs? 

This drug is still in the chemistry lab. All they have done so far is synthesize the compound and test it's ability to kill cancer cells in culture. So human trials are years away (if it even gets that far). But if the drug does work as hoped, it could be a real break-through.