Compound 'highly effective' at blocking breast cancer cells
A treatment for breast cancer which is more effective than existing medicines could be a step closer thanks to the "promising" findings of a new study.
Edinburgh scientists have identified a chemical compound which is highly effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
The compound, eCF506, targets a molecule called Src tyrosine kinase, needed for the cancer cells to grow.
Drugs which target the same molecule are already undergoing clinical trials.
However, researchers claim eCF506 is more selective and does not affect other molecules in the cell.
The team behind the research said this may mean it will be more effective and have fewer side effects than the other drugs in development.
They said further studies are needed but the early findings "are very promising".
The study identified the compound through a pioneering approach using imaging techniques to directly visualise the effects of candidate drugs on cells.
Professor Neil Carragher, head of the Edinburgh cancer discovery unit at Edinburgh University who led the study with Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, said: "This candidate drug will need to undergo further preclinical testing before it can be taken forward into clinical trials, but these early findings are very promising.
"The result provides further support for our new drug discovery approach, which aims to deliver more effective medicines at reduced costs for patients and healthcare providers."
Dr Unciti-Broceta said: "eCF506 is the first drug candidate of a second generation of Src inhibitors that will not only help to understand the complexity of some cancers but also the development of safer combination therapies."
The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, was funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the commercialisation catalyst Sunergos Innovations.