New KG5 Drug for treatment of Cancer
Published: January 9, 2012
Recently, the scientists have developed a new cancer drug that kills aggressive and deadly tumours by altering the structure of the cancer growth protein. The scientists, led by David A. Cheresh, PhD, professor of pathology and associate director for translational research at the Moores Cancer Center, used an innovative chemical and biological approach to design a new class of drugs that arrests division in virtually all tumor cells by binding to and altering the structure of an enzyme called RAF.
What is RAF?
In recent years, the research on Cancer treatment has centered around the BRAF gene. This gene encodes a protein belonging to the raf/mil family of serine/threonine protein kinases. This protein plays a role in regulating the MAP kinase/ERKs signaling pathway, which affects cell division, differentiation, and secretion.
Mutations in this gene are associated with cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, a disease characterized by heart defects, mental retardation and a distinctive facial appearance. Mutations in this gene have also been associated with various cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, colorectal cancer, malignant melanoma, thyroid carcinoma, non-small cell lung carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma of lung.
Drugs that treat those cancers by inhibiting B-Raf are being studied. The RAF enzyme is asscicated with the codes of this gene. The core theory of this new discovery is that by designing a new class of drugs that changes the shape of RAF enzyme and in doing so, renders it inactive. The specific drug tested, known as KG5, singles out RAF in proliferating cells, but ignores normal or resting cells. In affected tumor cells, RAF is unable to associate with the mitotic apparatus to direct cell division, resulting in cell cycle arrest leading to apoptosis or programmed cell death. KG5 in a similar manner effectively interferes with proliferating blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis.