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Rational Design of Engineered Arginine Depleting Enzymes as Multi-potent Anti-cancer Agents


A novel multi-potent drug removes arginine from the blood and kills cancer cells.

Arginine deprivation has become a new cancer treatment paradigm and has exploited for treatment of various cancers. Arginine is an essential amino acid for the growth of cancer cells. Deprivation of arginine induces cancer cells death but it is generally well tolerated in normal cells.

Three dimensional molecular structure of thermostable Bacillus arginase (BCA).

Copyright : PolyU

The successful use of Arginine Deiminase (ADI) to treat argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS)-deficient tumors has opened up new possibilities for targeted therapy. Nevertheless, many ASSpositive cancers are resistance to ADI.

By rational drug design, researchers at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have developed a thermostable arginase (BCA-PEG20) to treat both ADI-sensitive and ADI-resistant cancers.

BCA-PEG20 has demonstrated to have antitumor activities both in vitro and in vivo in lung cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, cervical cancer and other tumors.

As a novel multipotent anti-cancer drug, BCA-PEG20 is able to work as a single agent and combine with other chemotherapeutic agents to enhance treatment effect.

Special Features
• BCA-PEG20 is safe and effective
• BCA-PEG20 can treat drug-resistant cancers
• BCA-PEG20 can augment the therapeutic effect of other chemotherapeutic agents

• As a multipotent targeted therapy for cancers that are auxotrophic for arginine
• As a “chemo-enhancer” to augment the effect of other chemotherapeutic agents

Prize of the State of Geneva (April 2009)
• Gold Award with the congratulations of the jury - 37th International Exhibition of I nventions, New Techniques and Products, Geneva (April 2009)
• Finalist Award- SEED Competition, China (2010)

Principal Investigator
Prof. Yun-chung LEUNG and Dr Wai-hung LO
Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Contact Details:
Institute for Entrepreneurship
Tel: (852) 3400 2929 Fax: (852) 2333 2410 Email:

Associated links

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Research SEA
Further information:

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