If, however, p53 has mutated and become defective, the cancer cells can acquire the ability to evade apoptosis and become more resistant to therapy. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital have now obtained results from the first tests using a new substance that can restore the function of defective p53 and activate apoptosis in cancer cells.
The substance is known as APR-246 and has now been tested on humans in a phase I/II study, which was conducted on 22 patients with advanced blood or prostate cancer. Some of the patients came from the Haematology Centre at the Karolinska University Hospital in, Stockholm, where the studys lead investigator, consultant Dr Sören Lehmann is based. The remainder of the patients were from other clinics in Gothenburg, Lund, Uppsala and Örebro.
The patients received daily infusions of APR-246 for four days. When the researchers analyzed the cancer cells taken before and after treatment, they saw indications that the p53 gene had been activated to varying degrees, and that this had triggered the suicide program in the cancer cells. Ten patients could be evaluated as regards the development of their cancer, and in two of them there were signs of tumour regression.
However, the study was actually not designed to test the clinical effects but to ascertain how well the substance was tolerated by the body. With the main adverse reactions confined to temporary tiredness, nausea, headache and confusion, their results would suggest that the substance is well tolerated.
"The side-effects were totally different to those produced by conventional chemotherapy, which bodes well for designing combination therapies," says Dr Lehmann. "And it's in precisely this kind of combination that we think the substance has the greatest potential. In previous laboratory studies we've seen that APR-246 has generated synergy gains when used with chemotherapy due to the mutually enhancing effects of both substances."
Defective p53 is considered one of the most common factors behind the development of cancer. In some cancers, such as ovarian cancer, the vast majority of tumours have defective p53. In total, the p53 tumour suppressor gene is mutated in at least half of all tumours.
"In theory, a drug that restores p53 function should be effective against many different kinds of cancer, provided that the individual tumour contains defective p53," says study team member Professor Klas Wiman. "We should keep in mind, however, that tumours are very complex."
APR-246 was discovered by Klas Wiman and colleagues at Karolinska Institutet, and the present study was led from Karolinska University Hospital in association with Aprea AB. Aprea AB's principal shareholder is Karolinska Development, a company listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm exchange. Professor Wiman is co-founder and shareholder of Aprea, and a member of its board.
Sören Lehmann, Vladimir J.N. Bykov, Dina Ali, Ove Andrén, Honar Cherif, Ulf Tidefelt, Bertil Uggla, Jeffrey Yachnin, Gunnar Juliusson, Ali Moshfegh, Christer Paul, Klas G. Wiman and Per-Ola Andersson
Targeting p53 in vivo: A first-in-man study with the p53-targeting compound APR-246 (PRIMA-1MET) in refractory hematological malignancies and prostate cancerJournal of Clinical Oncology, early online publication 10 September 2012, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.40.7783.
Press Office | EurekAlert!
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine