New drug to fight cancer shows early promise

Updated: 2012-08-30 02:45


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VIENNA -- An anti-cancer drug developed by a  University of Vienna researcher has proven to be effective against various tumor types in its phase I clinical trials, the Austrian APA news agency reported on Wednesday.

The drug, NKP-1338, is developed by Bernhard Keppler, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna, and is the first anti-cancer drug based on ruthenium, a rare transition metal belonging to the platinum group, the University stated in a press release.

"The study's findings support what has already emerged from our pre-clinical studies: the drug selectively attacks tumors and is effective against various tumor types," Keppler said.

The active ingredient in the drug is inserted via the protein transferrin directly into the tumor. It is then activated and brings about the tumor cell's apoptosis, or programmed cell death. At the same time, the protein GBR78 which is responsible for the resistance of many tumor cells to treatment is inhibited.

"Through this process waste products accumulate in the tumor cell, which ultimately lead to the death of cell," said Keppler.

Phase two of the clinical studies is expected to begin shortly, the APA reported.