A team of researchers from five Swedish universities, led by Thomas Helleday at Karolinska Institutet/SciLifeLab, have identified a new way of treating cancer. The study, which engaged 45 researchers at SciLifeLab, was presented in the journal Nature.
The new cancer treatment concept is based on inhibiting a specific enzyme called MTH1, which cancer cells, unlike normal cells, require for survival. Without this enzyme, oxidized nucleotides are incorporated into DNA, resulting in lethal DNA double-strand breaks in cancer cells.
“To accelerate the development of this treatment principle and to proceed with clinical trials in patients as quickly as possible, we are working with an open innovation model. Even before publication, we have sent out MTH1 inhibitors to a range of research groups worldwide”, says Thomas Helleday.
The study was performed using the SciLifeLab national platforms Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden (CBCS) and Drug Discovery and Development, and the Protein Science Unit.
MTH1 inhibition kills cancer by preventing sanitation of the dNTP pool , Helge Gad, Tobias Koolmeister, Ann-Sofie Jemth et al., Nature , online 2 April 2014, doi: 10.1038/nature13181.
Stereospecific targeting of MTH1 by (S)-crizotinib as anticancer strategy , Kilian V. M. Huber, Eidarus Salah, Branka Radic et al., Nature , online 2 April 2014, doi: 10.1038/nature13194.
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