Cancer drug Design and Discovery // Drug Repurposing

Cancer drug Design and Discovery

MicroRNAs (miRs) are potent regulators of normal and cancerous growth and may potentially be developed into effective clinical agents or drug targets. The inefficient clinical delivery of miRs or miR-inhibitors is not a fully-solved problem, which hinders the clinical applications of miRs-delivering approach for cancer treatment. Dr. Curt Civin knows first-hand the involvement of miRs in leukemia, having previously discovered two miRs that regulate leukemia. His current research focuses on miR-34m, a type of miR which normally serves to suppress cancer growth. However, low levels of miR-34 naturally existing in leukemia and other cancer types diminish its role on suppressing these cancers. By conducting a high-throughput screening, Dr. Civin’s team identified a set of candidate drugs that can up-regulate cell levels of miR-34; these candidate drugs may be repurposed for leukemia therapy. One of these drugs, Artemisinin, a new class of antimalarials, has showed its activity against leukemia cell lines. Dr. Civin’s will further investigate the efficacy of Artemisinin and determine how they up-regulate miR-34.

Anticancer Drug Development for Overcoming Drug Resistance

Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY

Dr. Susan Horwitz is a leading pharmacologist who deciphers how tumors develop resistance to Taxol, and develops new strategies to overcome its resistance in tumors. Recently, her team developed the first antibody against betaV-tubulin, a protein that may have a role in cancer-causation and in the resistance to Taxol. Antibody results indicate that betaV-tubulin may be a potential prognostic marker of breast, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Also, this past year, her team published their work on a promising combination therapy for ovarian cancer. Dr. Horwitz’s team have shown that combination of two drugs, MEK inhibitor and estrogen receptor antagonist, could synergistically reduce tumor growth and the development of drug resistance compared to the use of each single agent. Future plans to bring this drug combination into the clinic as a phase I trial are underway. The availability of such a combination approach could bring an effective treatment for the two-third of ovarian cancer patients who lose their life too soon due to the development of drug resistance.

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An anecdotal response

by invivoVibrio

I have worked in several labs that have produced, either directly or through a spin-off company, real products that are medically useful. Scientists are the ones who create vaccines, design diagnostic devices and tests, and discover useful drugs.
There's a whole spectrum that falls under the title "science," which ranges from the purely discovery-oriented, focusing on just learning more about a topic for learning's sake; to the purely practical, such as so-called translational research, where scientists iron out the details of a practically useful discovery and optimize it for practical applications, "translating" the basic science into something that can be produced and sold by industry

Academic Press Cancer Drug Design and Discovery, Second Edition
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Cancer-Fighting Patch to Treat Mouth Cancer  — Drug Discovery & Development
Ohio State, through the Ohio State Innovation Foundation and the university's Drug Development Institute, and the University of Michigan licensed the intellectual property to the newly formed Sirona Therapeutics.

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