Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anticancer Substances Clear Next Hurdle

12.03.2013
Scientists of the MPI of Biochemistry and their cooperation partners of the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) have now signed a licensing agreement with the Korean company Qurient for a group of active substances that have been a focus of their research for a long time.

These substances shall target metastasizing and drug-resistant tumors more specifically and selectively. Qurient will successively enter the tested substances into preclinical and clinical trials in order to use them in the future for drugs. The Max Planck researchers hope that if the experiments and clinical trials are successful, a drug based on the new active substances could be on the market by the end of the decade.


To activate the Axl kinase and transmit its signal to the cell nucleus, a signal substance (blue) has to bind externally and the energy carrier ATP (green) internally. The inhibitors (orange) prevent a transmission of the signal by blocking the ATP binding site.
Picture: Axel Ullrich/Copyright: MPI of Biochemistry

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer causes about 7.6 million deaths per year, making it the second leading cause of death in the world after cardiovascular disease. Most cancer patients die of the disease because tumor cells spread to other sites in the body and form new tumors, so-called metastases. Therefore, there is a growing need for effective drugs. The new substances, which are the research focus of the three cooperation partners, belong to the family of highly specific Axl kinase inhibitors. In the research department headed by Axel Ullrich at the MPI of Biochemistry, the scientists Pjotr Knyazev and Robert Torka have been conducting research on the protein Axl kinase and its inhibitors for more than ten years.

The Axl kinase is a receptor protein that is found on the surface of many cell types. It recognizes specific signal substances that play a critical role in the survival and migration of cells. The researchers showed that fewer metastases develop when the Axl kinase is inactivated. In many aggressive types of cancer the Axl kinase is present at too high levels and is thus hyperactive. For this reason, the cells are constantly stimulated to grow or migrate.

“If we block the Axl kinase, we can prevent the cancer cells from migrating and forming new metastases,” said Robert Torka, explaining the effect of the new substances. The target that the inhibitors attack is located in the interior of the cell, at the Axl kinase domain. After the appropriate signaling substance is bound externally, an energy carrier (ATP) must additionally dock to the receptor internally before the signal can be transmitted to the cell nucleus. The new substances prevent the ATP from binding and the receptor from becoming activated and thus prevent the signal from reaching the cell nucleus. All Axl kinase-dependent processes are therefore blocked in the cancer cell.

Various groups of such inhibitors have already been patented at the MPI of Biochemistry. To make the individual substances even more effective against particularly aggressive, metastasizing tumors, it was necessary to generate chemical variants. The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) assumed this part of the cooperation. For example, the LCD scientists altered the substances so that they were more soluble. The researchers at the MPI of Biochemistry then tested the variants on different cancer cell lines derived from the lung, breast or pancreas e.g. for tolerance, dosage or efficacy in combination with other active substances.

The Qurient Company will successively bring the substances to preclinical and clinical trials, in order to use them later as drugs. To continue to optimize the agents further, the scientists of the MPI of Biochemistry and the LDC are participating with tests and experiments for an additional year of collaboration. Afterwards both partners take over a consulting function during the whole development process. “Our common goal is to make tumor treatments more selective and targeted to the tumor cells. The new substances are a step in the right direction,” said Pjotr Knyazev, scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology at the MPI of Biochemistry. [VS]

Contact

Prof. Dr. Axel Ullrich
Molecular Biology
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
e-mail: ullrich@biochem.mpg.de
www.biochem.mpg.de/ullrich
Anja Konschak
Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18
82152 Martinsried
Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 89 8578-2824
e-mail: konschak@biochem.mpg.de

Anja Konschak | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.biochem.mpg.de
http://www.biochem.mpg.de/en/news/pressroom/index.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>