daddyslittlegirl Posted May 15, 2007 Share Posted May 15, 2007 NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Two professors at the University of Oklahoma say they've developed a protein that can stop the spread of certain cancer cells without damaging normal cells. Thomas Pento and Roger Harrison helped develop a fusion protein that keeps some types of cancer cells from ingesting a vital protein called methionine. The fusion protein doesn't affect normal cells because, unlike cancer cells, they can be healthy without that protein. Chemotherapy and radiation therapies kill normal cells along with cancer cells, which often cause sickness and hair loss. "Roger has created a mechanism that delivers these compounds specifically to the surface of cancer cells so normal cells won't be affected but only the cancer cells will be damaged," Pento said. "So you can see it would cause a lot less toxicity and it should really be a lot more effective." Pento is a Noble Foundation presidential professor of pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center; Harrison is an associate professor of chemical, biological and materials engineering on the Norman campus. They worked with other OU scientists, including Xiao-Ping Zang, Naveen Palwai, Megan Lerner and Dan Brackett, research director at the Health Sciences Center's surgery department. Pento said the research started with breast cancer and expanded to include other types of solid tumors. They found the fusion protein to be just as helpful in fighting lung, prostate and pancreatic cancers. "It could be applicable to many types of cancer," Pento said, "but we've found that it's effective for those four types of cancer for sure." Despite successful testing to this point, Harrison said the fusion protein will need another round of animal tests before moving on to years of human clinical testing. Three phases of clinical tests could take two years each. "So it could be in the order of 10 years," he said. "It sounds so far away, but realistically, given the FDA and all the phases of testing, it could be done rapidly." The two professors have applied for patents on their technology and plan to conduct animal testing themselves before launching their own company or licensing with a large pharmaceutical company to do it. "If you don't patent it and get that protection, then no pharmaceutical company is going to spend the half to three-quarter billion dollars that it takes to do the clinical testing and to get this drug on the market," Pento said. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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