New Anti-Cancer Drug Uses New Tricks to Fight Cancer
Researchers gather to discuss the new anti-cancer drug that uses new tricks to fight cancer at the Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Munich, Germany, on Nov. 30.
This new drug was a result from decades of frustration and efforts to develop antibodies that can deliver drugs into cancer cells and minimize the damage to healthy tissue.The drug is called the antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and is working its way through clinical trials.
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The concept of ADCs is to use new tricks to fight cancer by repurposing an antibody as a vehicle to deliver a toxic drug into a cancer cell.
Yes, the antibody will trick the cancer cell as soon as the antibody gets out from an ADC. The tumor cell, on the other hand, is expected to take it up and cleave the molecular links that bind the drug to the antibody. Then finally, it will free the drug to kill the cell from within.
The Tricky Results
The results from initial trials are proved to be tricky as ADCs produce different actions. Sometimes the molecular linkers are too tight that it did not release the drug inside the cell. Other times, they are too unstable that it releases the drug near to the healthy cells, thus limiting the dose that can be administered. These facts show that drugs can be problematic too.
Although the initial trial failed, researchers never stopped. And now, there are currently two new ADCs on clinical trial that aim to successfully deliver its purpose.
In a report in Nature, Raffit Hassan, a cancer researcher at the US National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said that there are two new ADCs in phase III clinical trials, and many more in earlier-stage testing.
"Even with all this activity, the technology has not reached its peak," Ryan Million, head of the San Francisco office of the life-sciences and health-care consultancy firm Trinity Partners, said. "There's still lots to innovate. But when it works, I think it will work powerfully."