Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) have patented an effective drug for treating cancer stem cells (CSCs) in breast, colon, and skin cancers. The researchers have proved the anti-tumor effects of the drug on immunodeficient mice.
The new compound and its derivatives enabled the researchers to reduce tumor activity by 50 percent after 41 days of treatment with the drug, administered twice a week, to mice with induced tumors. They have also managed to successfully describe the mechanisms by which the drug acts on the cancer stem cells (CSCs).
One of the major advantages of the drug is that it is non-toxic. Despite being administered to the mice in high concentrations (150 milligrams per kilo), no adverse effects were observed in the healthy cells.
The drug directly targets CSCs without affecting the healthy cells, a huge advantage when compared to other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Although CSCs are only found in small quantities in tumors, from a clinical perspective the ability to target them directly is of fundamental importance, given that they are responsible for originally causing the tumor, relapses and resistance to anticancer treatments.
Moreover, from a pharmaceutical perspective this anti-tumor drug can be successfully produced in large quantities. The researchers were able to obtain the required amount of the synthesis in just five days.
Having proved the pre-clinical effectiveness of the new drug in treating cancer stem cells in breast, colon, and skin cancers, the scientists will now proceed to study the drug's effect on lung and pancreas cancers, two of the most aggressive types.
They must also complete further ADME-Tox ("absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity") studies of the compound's behavior within the organism, a necessary step before carrying out clinical trials.
Based on material originally posted by University of Granada.