Drug to reverse breast cancer spread in development

Researchers at Cardiff University are developing a novel compound known to reverse the spread of malignant breast cancer cells.

The vast majority of deaths from cancer result from its progressive spread to , known as metastasis. In up to 12,000 patients a year develop this form of the disease, often several years after initial diagnosis of a .

In a recent series of studies researchers identified a previously unknown critical role for a potential cancer causing gene, Bcl3, in .

"We showed that suppressing this gene reduced the spread of cancer by more than 80%," said Dr Richard Clarkson from Cardiff University's European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute.

"Our next goal was to then find a way to suppress Bcl3 pharmacologically. Despite great improvements in therapy of early stage breast cancer, the current therapeutic options for patients with late stage metastatic disease are limited.

"There is therefore a clear unmet clinical need to identify new drugs to reverse or at least to slow down disease progression" he added.

Dr Clarkson and his team joined up with researchers Dr Andrea Brancale and Dr Andrew Westwell from the Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, to develop small chemical inhibitors of the Bcl3 gene.

Computer aided modeling of how the Bcl3 gene functions inside the cell allowed the group to identify a pocket on the surface of Bcl3 essential for its function. By screening a virtual compound library for chemicals that could fit inside this pocket, using state-of-the-art computer software, they identified a drug candidate that potently inhibits Bcl3.

The compound was then trialed on mice with metastatic disease. The resulting effect was that the drug completely inhibited the development of the mice's metastatic tumours.

With financial backing from Tiziana Pharmaceuticals, work is now underway to progress the compound to clinical trials. The aim is to develop a therapeutic agent capable of blocking in breast cancer and a variety of tumour types.

The study will be published in the Cancer Research journal.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New method detects more breast cancer in screening

date 4 hours ago

Tomosynthesis detects 40% more breast cancers than traditional mammography does, according to a major screening study from Lund University, Sweden. This is the first large-scale study to compare the screening ...

Women's use of talc powder may be tied to ovarian cancer

date 22 hours ago

Deane Berg's doctor called her in the day after Christmas 2006 to give her the crushing news. She'd had her ovaries removed, the pathology results were back, and the information could not have been much worse. Berg had stage ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.