New anti-inflammatory drug molecule acts by inhibiting proteins and is found to be a promising tool to treat breast and ovarian cancer, according to the researchers of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
The study is published in Science and was done in collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch, Uppsala University and Stockholm University.
‘Side effects of the existing cancer medications may get reduced with the new anti-inflammatory molecule which causes DNA damage only in the cancer cells without affecting other healthy cells’
"We've developed a new drug molecule that inhibits inflammation," says Professor Thomas Helleday, at the Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, who co-led the study with Dr Torkild Visnes and Dr Armando Cázares-Körner. "It acts on a protein that we believe is a general mechanism for how inflammation arises in cells."
The discovery is the result of many years of research by Thomas Helleday's group on how DNA is repaired by the body.
One of the objectives has been to fight cancer by targeting damage to the tumour cells' DNA. Several breakthroughs have already been reported, which have led, amongst other things, to a new treatment for congenital breast and ovarian cancer using so-called PARP inhibitors, which has been available for some years.
It was when developing a new molecule for inhibiting the enzyme that repairs oxygen damage to DNA that the researchers found, to their surprise, that it also dampened inflammation. It turned out that the enzyme OGG1, apart from repairing DNA, also triggers inflammation.
The inhibitor blocks the release of inflammatory proteins, such as TNF alpha. In trials on mice with the acute pulmonary disease, the researchers succeeded in dampening the inflammation.
"This discovery could give rise to a new treatment for a very serious condition," says Professor Helleday. "We'll now be developing our OGG1 inhibitor and examining whether it can lead to new treatments for inflammatory diseases in order to cure or relieve diseases such as sepsis, COPD and severe asthma."