In a recent study, researchers discover a new compound that can block a protein essential for the growth of up to a quarter of all cancers.
The research presents a new way to efficiently kill these cancerous cells and holds promise for the treatment of blood cancers, skin cancers, lung cancer and breast cancer. It is published online in the journal Nature.
The compound S63845 targets a protein of the BCL2 family, called MCL1, which is essential for the sustained survival of these cancer cells.
The finding provided the first clear preclinical evidence that inhibiting MCL1 was effective in targeting several cancer types.
MCL1 is important for many cancers. It is a pro-survival protein that allows the cancerous cells to evade the normal cells.
Extensive research performed in a variety of cancer models has shown that the compound S63845 potently targets cancer cells dependent on MCL1 for their survival.
In the study, researchers demonstrated that the compound S63845 was not only effective against several cancer types, but also could be delivered at doses that were well tolerated by normal cells.
Researchers suggest that the work provided further evidence of the usefulness of a new class of anti-cancer drugs called BH3 mimetics.
BH3 mimetics inhibit a group of proteins known as the ‘pro-survival BCL-2 proteins’. MCL1 is a member of this protein family, and inhibiting it activates the process of programmed cell death.
Previous research has revealed the role of BCL-2 in cancer more than 28 years ago and the essential role of MCL1 for the survival of malignant cells four years ago.
News source: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is for illustrative purposes only.