Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) Melbourne have played a key role in developing a novel chemical compound which blocks a protein that has been linked to poor treatment responses in cancer patients.
The development of this compound is an important step towards designing a potential new anti-cancer agent, which will help to significantly reduce resistance to therapy.
The compound targets the function of a protein which prevents cells from dying.
Cell death is an important safeguard against cancer development, but once cancer cells start growing, they can produce high levels of this protein which prevents this natural process. This also reduces the effectiveness of chemotherapy and other anti-cancer treatments, and has been associated particularly with poorer outcomes in patients with lung, stomach, colon and pancreatic cancer.
Dr Guillaume Lessen (pictured) who co-led the study, together with Prof. Keith Watson and Prof. David Huang from the ACRF Chemical Biology Division at WEHI and colleagues Dr Peter Czabotar and Prof. Peter Colman, said:
“We were very excited to see the team’s work culminate in a compound that specifically inhibits the protein.”
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