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 Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Shape matters when light meets atom

05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”

05.12.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>