'Next Generation' cancer treatment ready for clinical trials

May 18, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A new class of anti-cancer drugs which control the growth and spread of cancers and do so with minimal side effects is being developed by researchers at the University of Sydney.

"These new agents attack a fundamental characteristic of while leaving normal cells alone," said Professor Des Richardson, from the Bosch Institute in Sydney Medical School.

"They work by binding the iron in , preventing them from growing. We believe they have the potential to be an effective new strategy, to be 'next generation' drugs, for a range of cancers including highly aggressive .

Because they do not act on non-cancerous cells these new agents dramatically reduce a range of distressing side effects familiar to people undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Professor Richardson is the head of the and Chelation Program at the University and has been conducting research in this area since the early 1990s.

The latest research on the chelators is led by post-doctoral researcher and NHMRC Early Career Fellow, Dr. Zaklina Kovacevic.

In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, published today, the researchers outline how these new agents increase the levels of a molecule (NDRG1) which inhibits the spread of cancer, including prostate and colon cancers.

"Together with a recent article in the journal, Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, these studies advance our knowledge of cancer cell biology and how we can target specific molecules to stop cancer progressing," Dr. Kovacevic said.

Professor Richardson is currently in advanced discussions on a licensing deal with an American company for developing the compound to the stage of clinical trials.

"This will present a significant step forward in the fight against cancer and provide cancer sufferers new hope for a better outcome," Professor Richardson said.

"It is a difficult step to go from the often quoted bench to bedside, but it has been greatly helped by the Bosch Institute's Translational Grants program, and by an NHMRC Development Grant."

The Executive Director of the Bosch Institute, Professor Jonathan Stone stated: "For anyone who has been through, or cared for a cancer sufferer through, the purgatory of chemotherapy, the prospect of anti-cancer drugs which are broadly effective but with few side effects is immensely welcome."

Explore further: Match your treatment to your cancer

Related Stories

Match your treatment to your cancer

June 30, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- New research has uncovered why certain cancers don’t respond to conventional chemotherapy, highlighting the need to match treatments to cancers better.

Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer

June 2, 2011
While it is already known that breast cancer cells create the conditions for their own survival by communicating their needs to the healthy cells that surround them, Australian researchers have identified a new way of turning ...

Novel drug combination offers therapeutic promise for hard-to-treat cancers

September 12, 2011
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have identified a new combination of targeted therapies that, together, may treat two aggressive tumor types that until now have not had effective treatments. These findings ...

Mechanism of action behind novel cancer agents targeting tumor cell metabolism discovered

July 26, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- The discovery of the mechanism of action behind a novel class of anticancer drugs designed to disrupt cancer cell mitochondrial metabolism may be a major step toward furthering clinical trials of the agents. ...

Cell discovery strengthens quest for cancer treatments

February 13, 2012
Fresh insights into how our cells multiply could help scientists develop drugs to treat cancer.

New agents show promise for treating aggressive breast cancers

July 18, 2011
Some of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer are more vulnerable to chemotherapy when it is combined with a new class of anti-cancer agent, researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have shown.

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 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.