Promising results for Swedish cancer drug candidate

December 6, 2013, Karolinska Institutet

A new study conducted by scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden presents very promising results for the treatment of the cancer form multiple myeloma. The drug candidate used in the research has been developed by scientists from Karolinska Institutet and a Swedish company following its initial identification at the same university. The findings are so promising that the scientists are teaming up with Harvard to bring the drug to clinical trials on patients.

The journal Blood has published a new study on a drug candidate for , a form of that affects about one per cent of all tumour patients, with some 600 people a year developing the disease in Sweden. Multiple myeloma is a life-threatening disease and there is a dire medical need for new therapies, especially for the patients whose have become resistant to the conventional drugs.

"The discovery that our substance works on multiple myeloma cells resistant to conventional therapy is very promising for the future," says Professor Stig Linder at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Oncology-Pathology. "We're now very hopeful that we and our colleagues at Harvard Medical School will be able to develop an effective treatment."

The study demonstrates that the drug candidate, called VLX1570, inhibits tumour growth and prolongs survival in preclinical multiple myeloma models. The exact mechanism of action of the substance was identified earlier at Karolinska Institutet (Nature Medicine, 2011); put simply, the tumour cells can be said to be more sensitive than normal cells to disruption to the machinery that breaks down defective proteins. When this machinery is blocked, it triggers apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the tumour cells.

"We show that the drug candidate kills multiple myeloma cells from cancer patients," says Professor Linder. "The substance is also effective against myeloma that have developed a resistance to the clinically used drug bortezomib."

Dr Dharminder Chauhan at Harvard Medical School says that the mechanism of action is very interesting as regards the development of new cancer drugs and adds, "We're delighted to be able to study the therapeutic potential of this new in clinical studies. We hope that the joint research we're doing will lead to improved cancer treatments."

The study also found that the new substance could be combined synergistically with other cancer therapies. Karolinska Institutet and Harvard Medical School are due to launch a large-scale clinical study next year in association with drug discovery company Vivolux AB (Uppsala, Sweden).

"If the study proves successful it will represent a great step forward, mainly for all cancer patients but also for the Swedish drug industry," says Professor Linder.

Explore further: Substance interfering with the cells handling of protein waste could become new cancer drug

More information: 'A novel small molecule inhibitor of deubiquitylating enzyme USP14 and UCHL5 induces apoptosis in myeloma cells and overcomes Bortezomib resistence', Tian Z, D'Arcy P, Wang X, Ray A, Tai Y-T, Hu Y, Carrasco R, Linder S, Chauhan D, Anderson K, Blood, online 6 December 2013.

Related Stories

Substance interfering with the cells handling of protein waste could become new cancer drug

November 7, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified a new kind of cancer drug that has been shown to be effective against tumours in different experimental systems. An article published in Nature Medicine ...

Possible new therapy for the treatment of myeloma

September 5, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Research from Karolinska Institutet shows that sorafenib, a drug used for advanced cancer of the kidneys and liver, could also be effective against multiple myeloma. The disease is one of the more common ...

Research team uncovers root cause of multiple myeloma relapse

September 18, 2013
Researchers have discovered why multiple myeloma, a difficult to cure cancer of the bone marrow, frequently recurs after an initially effective treatment that can keep the disease at bay for up to several years.

Cancer researchers discover root cause of multiple myeloma relapse

September 9, 2013
Clinical researchers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre have discovered why multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow, persistently escapes cure by an initially effective treatment that can keep the disease ...

Preclinical tests may lead to new approach to treat CNS lymphoma

August 12, 2013
A drug recently approved for use in multiple myeloma is now being tested for its ability to fight central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the immune system that can affect the brain, spinal cord and fluid, ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

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.