Targeting tumours

Targeting ultrapotent anti-tumour agents

Autumn 2008

£48,455 to the School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy at UEA to look for new methods to allow drugs to target tumours.
Most anti-tumour drugs currently in use work on processes involved in the cancer’s ability to reproduce and grow. Most of them have side effects as they have a small range of doses that are acceptable to the patient (i.e., not toxic) but which also stop the growth of the tumour. Targeting drugs to the tumour would reduce the damage to other cells in the body. Duocarmycins are molecules isolated from bacteria that are among the most potent anti-tumour antibiotics so far discovered. Researchers have developed a method to target these products to tumours and have a compound that has shown initial promise.

This project aims to create improved versions of the compound that can be moved further towards clinical trials and will also continue to look for new ways to target tumours. The two-pronged approach could lead to new drugs related to duocarmycins that have potential utility in the treatment of cancer.


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