Scientists from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast and Almac Discovery Ltd, have announced the first publication describing a potential new anti-angiogenic therapy based on a natural protein first discovered at QUB. Anti-angiogenics prevent the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and starve them of nutrients, leading to inhibition of tumour growth.
The paper, published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, describes the anti-angiogenic activity of the natural protein, FKBPL, and peptides derived from it.
Both the full length protein and the smaller peptides disrupt the tumour blood supply, leading to highly effective inhibition of tumour growth in models of prostate and breast cancer. One of the active peptides is being developed by Almac Discovery for the treatment of solid tumours.
Professor Tracy Robson, who lead the QUB group said, ‘We are excited by the therapeutic possibilities opened up by this research and look forward to continuing this successful and stimulating collaboration with Almac Discovery’.
Dr Stephen Barr, President & Managing Director of Almac Discovery said, ‘This is a first class example of a collaboration between academia and industry to produce a novel approach to cancer therapy that has a real chance of helping patients’.
Anti-angiogenic therapies are well established for the treatment of cancer, but current therapies are all based on disrupting the activity of one growth factor, VEGF. The work from this collaboration may provide a first-in-class therapy that targets tumor angiogenesis by an entirely different pathway to those agents currently on the market.