Scientists claim to have come up with radical new drug that will make cancer cells “commit suicide” and may also prove highly effective in wiping out some of the most deadly forms of the disease.
The wonder drug will bring fresh hopes to patients with aggressive and deadly tumours and could also prove highly effective against other, less virulent, types of cancer.
The added bonuses of the treatment, which would be delivered in pill form, is that it has very few side effects and tumorous cells are unlikely to become resistant, as is the case with current therapies.
According to Professor David Cheresh and his team from the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, the drug “blocks the function of proliferation” and the malignant cells commit suicide when they can’t multiply.
The KG5 drug, which has proved effective tests against pancreatic, breast and kidney cancers, works by stopping tumorous cells from multiplying and they then shut themselves down.
According to the research, KG5 works in a totally different way as compared to traditional therapies by altering the structure of a cancer growth protein, an enzyme known as RAF.
Existing treatments block RAF’s activity, but KG5 changes the entire shape of the protein, which neutralises it without leading to unwanted side-effects.
“Before this drug was designed, we had no idea RAF could promote tumour cell cycle progression,” the Daily Express quoted Cheresh as saying.
“This may be only one example of how, by designing drugs that avoid the active site of an enzyme, we can identify new and unexpected ways to disrupt the growth of tumours.
“In essence, we are attacking an important enzyme in a whole new way and thereby discovering new things this enzyme was intended for,” he said.
The study has been recently published online in the Nature Medicine journal.