BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Scientists at the University at Buffalo and Tulane University have, for the first time, optically tracked in real-time the pathway of one of the most widely used cancer drugs linked to a peptide hormone carrier as it is being taken up by a human breast-cancer cell.
The research, published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , demonstrates the power and utility of new photonic materials developed at UB that have allowed scientists this first-ever, bird's-eye-view of the cellular pathway of the chemotherapeutic agent.
The compound used was AN-152, a combination of the commonly prescribed chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin, which is linked to an LH-RH (luteinizing hormone-release hormone) analog that targets only cells with LH-RH receptors on them. This makes the compound specific to cancers of the ovary, breast, cervix and prostate, and possibly others as well.
AN-152, now in animal trials, first was synthesized by Andrew V. Schally, Ph.D., M.D.h.c., 1977 Nobel laureate in medicine and director of the Endocrine, Polypeptide and Cancer Institute of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New Orleans, and Attila Nagy, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine. Both are co-authors on the paper.
The UB researchers were able to track this compound through a human breast-cancer cell by combining it with a fluorescent probe (C625) synthesized in the laboratory of Paras Prasad, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. Prasad also is executive director of UB's new Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics, where the experimental work was done.
These findings provide researchers with evidence that AN-152 directly enters cancer cells, accumulates in the nucleus and associates with the cell's chromosomes, which had been suspected but never proven.