Patient trials for a revolutionary new cancer treatment discovered by Melbourne researchers could begin within the year.
In research published in the journal Cancer Cell, scientists claim that the new drug can be used to kill leukaemia and lymphoma cells by blocking their protein production. This would effectively eliminate the need for chemotherapy, sparing cancer patients the serious side-effects.
“What we have been able to show is that cancer cells have this unexpected dependence on making new protein and if you interfere with that you can kill the cancer cells and spare the normal cells,” Associate Professor Ross Hannan of the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre said.
“We’ve demonstrated that cancer cells are far more dependent on their ability to make ribosomes than normal cells, and therefore, much more vulnerable if these ‘protein factories’ come under attack,” he said.
“We have a new drug in our hands that, if tested successfully, has the potential to save lives.”