The treatment selectively kills cancer cells while sparing healthy cells, meaning the impact on the patient is less severe than current treatments such as chemotherapy, which damages cell DNA.
The intravenous drug, CX-5461, developed by Peter MacCallum Cancer Care specialists, blocks the production of ribosomes, a protein made in the heart of cancer cells, and one which they thrive on.
“What is really quite remarkable and was quite unexpected was that normal cells are not so dependent on this formation of the ribosomes,” said Grant McArthur, co-head of Peter Mac’s Cancer Therapeutics Program.
“This is an exciting new concept to what is really a bit of a ‘Holy Grail’ in cancer treatments.”
It is a promising discovery for sufferers of blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma, 40 of whome will participate in clinical trials this year.