New compound shows promise in treating multiple human cancers
A new compound, discovered jointly by international pharmaceutical company Servier, and Vernalis (R&D), a company based in the UK, has been shown by researchers to block a protein that is essential for the sustained 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 such as acute myeloid leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as solid cancers such as melanoma and cancers of the lung and breast. It is published online today in the journal Nature.
The Servier compound - S63845 - targets a protein of the BCL2 family, called MCL1, which is essential for the sustained survival of these cancer cells.
Institute scientist Associate Professor Guillaume Lessene, who led the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s research team in Melbourne, Australia, said the work provided the first clear preclinical evidence that inhibiting MCL1 was effective in targeting several cancer types.
“MCL1 is important for many cancers because it is a pro-survival protein that allows the cancerous cells to evade the process of programmed cell death that normally removes cancer cells from the body,” Associate Professor Lessene said. “Extensive studies performed in a variety of cancer models have shown that S63845 potently targets cancer cells dependent on MCL1 for their survival.”