A team of researchers has developed a novel therapy that could be effective for different types of cancers.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, indicates that the therapeutic agent shows high effectiveness in vitro at disrupting a biological pathway that helps cancer survive.

“Translating these findings into effective cancer therapies for patients is a high priority…,” said researcher Jian Jin from Mount Sinai in the US.

According to the researchers, the therapy is an engineered molecule, MS21, that causes the degradation of AKT, an enzyme that is overly active in many cancers.

This study laid out evidence that pharmacological degradation of AKT is a viable treatment for cancers with mutations in certain genes, the researchers said.

AKT is a cancer gene that encodes an enzyme that is frequently abnormally activated in cancer cells to stimulate tumor growth. Degradation of AKT reverses these processes and inhibits tumor growth.

“Our study lays a solid foundation for the clinical development of an AKT degrader for the treatment of human cancers with certain gene mutations,” said co-author Ramon Parsons from the varsity.

“Examination of 44,000 human cancers identified that 19 per cent of tumours have at least one of these mutations, suggesting that a large population of cancer patients could benefit from therapy with an AKT degrader such as MS21,” Ramon added.

MS21 was tested in human cancer-derived cell lines, which are models used in laboratories to study the efficacy of cancer therapies.

The researchers are looking to develop MS21 with an industry partner to open clinical trials for patients.



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