Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne have developed a new drug that is claimed to have the capability to completely kill cancer cells or put them to sleep in order to they do not interfere with the good once and also reflect no side effects.
The researchers say that their new drug can pave way to amazing possibilities for cancer patients and their tests have also showcased substantial promise in stopping cancer progressions in models of liver and blood cancers as well as in order to delay cancer relapse. The new drug is among the first ones to specifically target particular proteins KAT6A and KAT6B, both of whom are proven in augmenting cancer. Currently, KAT6A is rated within the top dozen of genes that are commonly amplified during cancer.
As far as animal models are concerned, the tests have shown that depletion of KAT6A can multiply four time the life expectancy in case of blood cancer called lymphoma. Now with this information in hand, the researchers aspired to formulate drug that can treat cancer and their new compound has shown substantial promise during the preclinical testing. The compound has shown its potency against tumor cells while not disturbing the healthy cells at the same time.
What makes this study a unique and a highly promising one is that they do not cause any potential DNA damage, as is the case with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The drug merely makes the cancer cells to sleep indefinitely!
Biologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently designed a peptide that could counter several forms of cancer. The peptide targets the Mcl-1 protein that is vital for the survival of cancer cells. The protein immunes the cancer cell from dying through the DNA damage, thus, enhancing cellular growth. Blocking Mcl-1 with the newly designed peptide would lead to programmed death of cancer cells. The researchers have succeeded in developing peptide molecules that could effectively target the cells.
Binding Mcl-1 Protein with Peptide Drugs Inhibits Cellular Growth
Programmed cell death is called ‘apoptosis’, and Mcl-1 protein prevents the initiation of apoptosis in the body. This results in the growth of the cancer cells, and successively makes them resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Mcl-1 is one of the five proteins that prevent the death of cancer cells, resulting in the prevalence of lymphomas and acute myeloid leukemia. Peptide drugs strongly cling to the Mcl-1 protein, thus, preventing it from binding with cancer cells. This ensures that the cancer cells do not get any subsistence from the Mcl-1 protein, thus, causing strategic death of these cells. The binding of the peptide to the Mcl-1 protein was tried with 40 variants of peptides to identify the ideal binding spot.
Opening Avenues for Further Research
Two of the best performing Mcl-1 inhibitors were tested on cancer cells by the researchers. It was found that these inhibitors did not require assistance from any other forms of drugs and could independently kill the cancer cells. The biologists believe that the research has helped in establishing the relevance of peptides in blocking Mcl-1 protein. However, there is a need to conduct further testing to understand the effects of peptides on specific cancers.