Researchers have zeroed in on a novel target for the treatment of lymphoma and are now evaluating the efficacy of the drug by testing it on pet dogs afflicted with the disease.
The results of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, appear this month in the journal Cancer Research
.The new compound targets a cellular enzyme, procaspase-3, that when activated spurs a cascade of reactions that kill the cell, said chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother, who co-led the study with Tim Fan, a professor of veterinary clinical medicine.
Procaspase-3 offers an attractive target for cancer therapy, in part because cancers often interfere with normal cell death, and in part because many tumors - including those found in breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, melanoma and liver cancer - contain high levels of procaspase-3.
"In my lab, we try to think of novel targets and novel approaches to cancer and other diseases," Hergenrother said. "We think about the pathways that lead to those diseases, and we try to intervene at spots where others have not."The new compound is a modified version of a drug the researchers previously tested in mice and one dog.