Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PolyU makes great strides in developing cancer drugs

09.04.2009
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has achieved further breakthrough in developing cancer drugs. The innovation has recently been awarded at the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products of Geneva.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has achieved further breakthrough in developing cancer drugs through making use of advanced biotechnology. This breakthrough not only gives a ray of hope for cancer patients, but also revolutionizes the concept of cancer drug development.

This innovation has recently been awarded the Prize of the State of Geneva (third runner-up prize) and a Gold Medal with Jury’s Commendation at the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products of Geneva.

Developed by Associate Professor Dr Thomas Leung Yun-chung and Assistant Professor Dr Thomas Lo Wai-hung of the University's Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, the new drugs work on the mechanism of starving cancer cells through depletion of arginine - a key nutrient for many cancer cells.

PolyU researchers have proved that the depletion or lowering of blood arginine concentrations is effective in inhibiting the proliferation of liver cancer. The research paper on this important finding was first published in the authoritative, highly cited journal Cancer Research, published by the American Association for Cancer Research (January 2007 issue). This paper has shed new light on the development of novel arginine-depleting cancer drug for treating liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma).

The main constituent of this new drug is arginase, an enzyme that degrades arginine, with urea as an end-product. However, naturally occurring arginase has a very short half-life and thus cannot be used for therapeutic purpose. Using state-of-the-art DNA technology, PolyU researchers produced in 2005 a recombinant human arginase that, after chemical modification, has a significantly prolonged half-life for therapeutic use. More recently, they have further invented a novel drug based on naturally occurring thermostable Bacillus arginase (BCA). A patent application has been filed for this novel drug.

This breakthrough has a far-reaching impact in that the second generation of cancer drugs developed by PolyU researchers could provide a cure not just for liver cancer, but also for other deadly cancer diseases. In the laboratory settings, the new drug has been proved to work in cell culture for breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and gastric cancer.

Pre-clinical studies conducted on the use of this drug in nude mice showed that the drug is effective in depleting blood arginine and inhibiting breast cancer. The use of this new drug has opened up many new opportunities for effective treatment of different types of cancer. As this anti-cancer therapy is a targeted approach, it only affects cancer cells but not normal cells, causing less side effects than traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy.

Furthermore, the new drug is more stable with a longer blood circulating half-life, which means cancer patients can receive fewer injections of smaller amounts of this drug to achieve the same result. The new drug is also purer because of its homogenous structure and the production cost is expected to be lower because of its simple form.

The first generation of cancer drug based on arginine depletion has been proved to work on liver cancer and is now going through the clinical trial stages with the support of Queen Mary Hospital and the Centre for the Study of Liver Diseases at the University of Hong Kong. The second generation of cancer drugs will also go through similar testing stages in the years ahead.

The discovery of this new drug is supported by research funding from the Lo Ka Chung Charity Foundation and the Simatelex Charitable Foundation. The research work is being undertaken at the University’s Lo Ka Chung Centre for Natural Anti-Cancer Drug Development, which was set up in December 2006 with a generous donation of HK$20 million from Mr Lo.

This innovation, together with the descriptions of five other intriguing research projects, are being put on public display at the "PolyU Achievements Exhibition" which runs from 6 to 9 April on the university campus.

Evelyn Chan | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.researchsea.com
http://www.polyu.edu.hk/cpa/polyu/hotnews/details_e.php?year=2009&news_id=1609

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>