Protein Agent Destroys Cancer Cells
Preclinical studies of a new antineoplastic agent developed by Siberian scientists have been completed.
Biotechnology Laboratory at the Institute of Chemical Biology and Essential Medicine (ICBEM) of Siberian Department of RAS is working on improvement of efficacy of antineoplastic protein lactaptin. It is a human milk protein agent that may cause death of cancer cells. The studies performed at ICBEM are using genetically engineered or recombinant lactaptin analogue — RL-2.
Similar to other protein substances administered intravenously, lactaptin is equally distributed along the body. For the purpose of development of a target agent, it is linked to molecules ensuring targeted delivery of RL-2 to cancer cells.
Research is performed to protect the drug from hydrolytic enzymes that add water and split protein, and to mask from the immune system, as lactaptin quickly disintegrates by hydrolysis with enzymes, or as a result of the body immune response.
Increased therapeutic efficacy is ensured by combining functions of lactaptin and oncolytic viruses that selectively kill cancer cells. Contamination with such a dual agent will enable significantly improve the antineoplastic effect. The R&D works are based on that principle. Other ideas for qualitative improvement of RL-2 effects are being considered.
“Today RL-2 is not yet a drug”, says Vladimir Alexandrovich Rikhter, Ph.D., Biol., Deputy Director of ICBEM SR RAS, adding that according to his forecast, even at best conditions, clinical trial of lactaptin may be completed not earlier than in 3 or 4 years.