Potential breakthrough in cancer treatment unveiled

Experts say this will pave way for development of medicine for drug-resistant cancers

Our Correspondent March 13, 2018

LAHORE: Experts have presented new research on treating cancer on Monday.

The Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) announced that research work identifying and characterising SSE15206, a microtubule depolymerising agent which combats multi drug resistance, will be published in Scientific Reports, an online research journal.

The research is collaborative work between Dr Rahman Shah Zaib Saleem’s laboratory at the department of chemistry and chemical engineering and Dr Amir Faisal’s laboratory at the department of biology at Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering.

Department of Biology Associate Professor Amir Faisal said that an increased understanding of the biology of cancer in the last few decades had resulted in new and improved treatment options.

Statistics released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer show that cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, he added. In Pakistan, there are more than 100,000 cancer-related deaths every year.

Cancer cases rising at an alarming rate

“However, some of the current methods of treatment become ineffective due to multidrug resistance, where cancer cells stop responding to several types of drugs,” he said.

The ability of SSE15206 to overcome multidrug resistance makes this class of molecules promising precursors for developing drugs that can do the same, he elaborated

The research work, which spanned two-and-a-half-years, involved MS students Safia Manzoor and Sunniya Iftikhar, lab instructors Sardraz Khan and Aisha Bilal and PhD student Rahimullah; all of whom worked under the supervision of Saleem and Faisal.

The research states that the compound shows promise in developing a cancer drug which can combat multidrug resistance. However, this is only the first step.

“We need to conduct more research in order to optimise several properties including potency and efficacy as well as pharmacokinetics before we have a potential drug. This may not impact the common man immediately, but in the long run it will pave the way for the development of drugs which can help those battling drug-resistant cancers,” he stated.

The labs plan to pursue this research further to develop the lead compound for further studies.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2018.


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