Researchers unveil strategy for creating actively-programmed anti-cancer molecules

The new study, which was published July 5 in an advanced, online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, achieved a significant enhancement of the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in animal models. The study showed the new hybrid compound remained in circulation for a week. In comparison, the small molecule drug was cleared in a matter of minutes.

"Although the study focused specifically on breast cancer, these new findings could have broad application in the treatment of a number of other cancers, potentially increasing the efficacy of a number of existing or undeveloped small molecule therapies," said Subhash C. Sinha, Ph.D., associate professor in the Scripps Research Department of Molecular Biology and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, who led the research with Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, M.D., Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry, Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Chair in Chemistry, and a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology.

In the study, the scientists created what is known as a "chemically programmed antibody" by using small cell-targeting molecules and a non-targeting catalytic monoclonal aldolase antibody in a novel self-assembly strategy. Antibodies are proteins produced by immune cells that are designed to recognize foreign pathogens harmful to the body; monoclonal antibodies are produced in the laboratory from a single cloned B-cell, the immune system cell that makes antibodies.

"By bringing together chemistry and biology, our approach provides a way to break the traditional one antibody-one target axiom of immunochemistry," said Lerner. "This new hybrid technology offers great possibilities for the enhanced treatment and diagnosis of a variety of diseases, including cancer."

Preventing Breast Cancer Metastasis

In the study, the researchers used the unique assembly strategy to create a novel compound to combat metastatic br

Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

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