Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Designing a new drug against pancreatic cancer

Computer model of S100P, 
showing how drug molecules 
interact with the protein.
Stopping the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer is the focus of a new project led by Dr Sharon Rossiter University’s Department of Pharmacy.

The researchers will be investigating potential new drugs to block a protein called S100P which has been shown to be involved in the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer, as well as some other common cancers.

The new drugs will be designed using a computer model of the protein to identify novel compounds that will bind to the protein and prevent it from functioning. Once their effects have been tested on cancer cells, changes to the compounds will be made in the laboratory to improve their effectiveness at preventing cancer growth.

The aim of this new research project is to identify the best possible drug compounds which will hopefully eventually lead to a successful drug treatment for pancreatic cancer and is funded by the Association for International Cancer Research.

Pancreatic cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK, around 8,500 people were diagnosed in 2010.  It is an aggressive cancer that very few people survive from – only around four per cent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for five years or more, making it one of the lowest survival rates.  It is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when the cancer has become very aggressive and it quickly spreads to other organs of the body.  Currently there is no effective treatment for the disease at this advanced stage.

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