New Anti-Cancer Drug Kills Cancer Cells By Depriving Energy Supply

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A paper recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry discusses a new cancer drug called OSU-CG12 that is in the experimental stages. It deprives cancer cells of sugar (energy) that they need when they grow rapidly and outstripe their blood supply leaving them short of energy. The principal investigator, Ching-Shih Chen, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Internal Medicine, and Urology at Ohio State University said this “energy restriction may offer a powerful new strategy for treating cancer because it targets a survival mechanism used by many types of cancers.”

The researchers started with a drug developed for type II diabetes that also showed anticancer properties in laboratory experiments called ciglitazone. They altered the structure of the ciglitazone molecule producing OSU-CG12 that increased its activity. Using prostate cancer and breast cancer cell lines they showed that OSU-CG12 was 10 times more effective at killing cancer cells than ciglitazone. It was also 10 times more effective than a second drug, resveratrol, a natural product found in grapes and red wine having weak anticancer activity that also used a restricting energy mechanism with cancer cells. In addition to restricting glucose from entering cancer cells, OSU-CG12 suppressed the cells ability to metabolize the sugar. Deprived of energy, the cancer cells begin consuming themselves accompanied by other biochemical events that lead to the death of the cells by a natural process called apoptosis. Research continues to modify and enhance the efficacy of OSU-CG12.

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