Molecular glue sticks it cancer

Molecular glue sticks it to cancer

12:31 PM, 24th June 2011
Molecular glue sticks it to cancer
Professor Patrick Gunning, Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga.

MISSISSAUGA, CANADA: Imagine dropping dish soap into a sink full of greasy water. What happens? As soon as the soap hits the water, the grease recoils-and retreats to the edges of the sink.

Now, what if the sink was a cancer cell, the globs of grease were cancer-promoting proteins and the dish soap was a potential drug? According to new research from the University of Toronto Mississauga, such a drug could force the proteins to the cell’s membrane (the edge of the sink) - and make the cancer cell more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

“This is a totally new approach to cancer therapy. Everything prior to this has targeted functionally relevant binding sites. Our approach inhibits the mobility of cancer-promoting proteins within cells - essentially, it’s like molecularly targeted glue,” said Professor Patrick Gunning, Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Mississauga.

The “glue” is shaped like a dumbbell: at one end is an anchor that sticks to the membrane and at the other is a molecule that binds to the cancer-promoting proteins. On a normal cell, the new therapy will have little effect.

“We are really excited about the potential for this type of drug. This is ready to move to pre-clinical studies and this treatment could slow or stop the explosive growth of cancerous tumours. And for patients, this might reduce the need for really powerful chemotherapy, which can be very hard to tolerate,” said Gunning, who developed the concept along with Professor Claudiu Gradinaru at the university of  Mississauga and Professor James Turkson at the University of Central Florida.

The study appears on the cover of the latest issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie.

(C) University of Toronto Mississauga News




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