Presenting and speaking at the prestigious Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology at Banff in Canada, Professor Agememnon Epenetos has today revealed that he has developed a treatment that successfully kills cancer stem cells in animal trials.
The therapy involves use of a genetically engineered protein that acts as a ‘Trojan horse’ to enter the nucleus of a cancerous stem cell, causing it to shut down and die. The breakthrough is hugely significant because cancer stem cells cause the disease to multiply and spread.
Professor Epenetos, Visiting Professor at Imperial College in London, said: “We have successfully destroyed cancer stem cells during initial trials of our new drug, TR4.
“This is hugely significant because if you can kill cancer stem cells then you can potentially stop cancer from spreading. Cancer stem cells act like the root of all evil because they can reproduce themselves and they are more virulent and more resistant to drugs.”
Professor Epenetos revealed that his research company Trojantec is now seeking funding in order to begin clinical trials of the new drug in humans. If successful, the trials would enable doctors to target cancer and cancer stem cells at a genetic level, resulting in treatments that are more effective and less toxic than current treatments.
Professor Lucio Miele of the University of Mississippi Cancer Institute in Jackson, USA commented: “Cancer stem cells are a new frontier in cancer research. In order to eradicate cancer, we have to eradicate cancer stem cells.
“Drugs against cancer stem cells, like Trojantec’s TR4, are potentially one of the biggest cancer breakthroughs in a decade.”