A safer and more effective anticancer drug has been discovered by researchers from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy.
The new treatment would target leukemia, lymphoma, and breast and lung cancers.
The drug, known as DT2216, affects a protein called B-cell lymphoma-extra large, or BCL-XL, which grows malignant cells and strengthens their resistance to therapy or treatment.
An inhibitor of this protein already exists, but it causes a drop in blood platelets, raising the risk of internal bleeding.
Due to these concerns, the US Food and Drug Administration didn't approve the drug, and researchers have been seeking alternatives.
The new drug works better against a variety of tumor cells aided by the BCL-XL protein and is also less toxic to blood platelets.
The new BCL-XL-targeting anti-cancer drug was developed using a technology that relies on PROTACs, small molecules that suppress and break down cancer-promoting proteins.
The researchers have so far demonstrated its effectiveness only in mathematical and mouse models and the drug suppressed growth of several tumors, both on its own and in combination with other drugs.
The cancers affected by the drug include T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and drug-resistant breast and small-cell lung cancers.
Further research needs to be conducted before they are able to file an Investigatory New Drug (IND) application, in order to conduct clinical trials on humans.