Compound found that could potentially stop cancer cells from moving around the body
In a study published in Nature Communications, it was revealed that a novel approach can halt the movement of cancer cells before they spread throughout the body.
Raymond Bergan, professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) said that the majority of cancer treatment therapies were directed toward killing cancer but no one had developed a therapy that can stop cancer cells from moving around the body.
The study outlined a multidisciplinary team's work with KBU2046, a compound that was found to inhibit cell motility in four different human cell models of solid cancer types: breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers.
"Movement is key: the difference is black and white, night and day. If cancer cells spread throughout your body, they will take your life. We can treat it, but it will take your life," said Bergan.
Chemists led by Karl Scheidt, professor of chemistry at Northwestern University designed and created new molecules and Bergan's team evaluated them for their ability to inhibit cell motility.
Using chemical synthesis approaches, Scheidt and team accessed new compounds that minimized motility in tumor cells, with few side effects and very low toxicity.
"We started off with a chemical that stopped cells from moving, then we increasingly refined that chemical until it did a perfect job of stopping the cells with no side effects," said Bergan.
Bergan said the key to this drug was engaging the heat shock proteins or the "cleaners" of a cell. "The way the drug works is that it binds to these cleaner proteins to stop cell movement, but it has no other effect on those proteins."
The team of investigators includes Bergan's team at OHSU, a chemist from Northwestern University as well as researchers from Xiamen University in China, the University of Chicago, and the University of Washington.
"Our eventual goal is to be able to say to a woman with breast cancer: here, take this pill and your cancer won't spread throughout your body. The same thing for patients with prostate, lung, and colon cancer," Bergan said.
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