For the first time ever, Melbourne scientists have discovered an anti-cancer drug that puts cancers into a state of permanent sleep. Not only that, it does so without the standard harmful side-effects caused by traditional cancer therapies.
The unique new class of drugs could give cancer patients an alternative treatment, and thus far it has show promise for stopping the progression of cancer in models of liver and blood cancers. Not only that, it has been shown effective in delaying cancer relapse.
Tim Thomas, who led the research, claims that the new drug class is the first to target KAT6A and KAT6B proteins, which are known to play a big role in driving cancer.
“Early on, we discovered that genetically depleting KAT6A quadrupled the life expectancy in animal models of blood cancers called lymphoma,” Thomas said. “Armed with the knowledge that KAT6A is an important driver of cancer, we began to look for ways of inhibiting the protein to treat cancer.”
“This new class of anti-cancer drugs was effective in preventing cancer progression in our preclinical cancer models,” he added. “We are extremely excited about the potential that they hold as an entirely new weapon for fighting cancer.
Apparently, the compound was tolerated well in preclinical models and proved itself to be potent against tumor cells without negatively impacting healthy cells.
“This has been a very tough nut to crack,” said Ian Street, chief scientist at Cancer Therapeutics CRC. “There is no doubt that the KAT6 inhibitors have played an important role in elucidating the potential of this new and exciting strategy to treat cancers.”
The findings were published in Nature.