Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous tumors. Currently, the only drugs available to fight against it are generic chemotherapy treatments.
However, with this new study from researchers at the Nanotechnology Institute of CNR, unit of Rende, in collaboration with French and Spanish experts, the future may be bright for people with the disease.
Trifluoperazine tablets (c) Healthy Life Pharma
Trifluoperazine is a drug used to treat psychosis such as schizophrenia. According to experts, it also has the molecule that may interfere with the activity of a protein involved in the pancreatic cancer development process.
The drug has been found to be capable of inhibiting the protein Nupr1, which belongs to the special class of intrinsically disordered proteins that exacerbates the severity of pancreatic tumors.
“The research has been performed starting from the screening of more than 1000 drugs already approved for various therapeutic indications. The combined use of experimental techniques and computer simulations has allowed us to identify some of those drugs capable of interacting with the protein Nupr1. In vitro experiments have afterwards shown that the selected compounds were able to lower the vitality of tumor cells, reduce the ability of migration, and completely suppress the possibility of colony formation," Bruno Rizzuti of Cnr-Nanotec in Rende said in a statement.
Representative images of tumor xenografts in mice treated with different concentrations of Compound-15 after 4 week-treatment. Size of tumors exponentially increased with time in control mice, whereas they are constant with Compound-15 treatment. (c) Nature
He added, "the most effective compound has been tested in vivo on human pancreatic cancer cells transplanted on mice, and proved to completely arrest the development of the disease. The molecule– known as trifluoperazine, and used until now only for its anti-psychotic action – has demonstrated an antitumor efficacy even higher than the most powerful chemotherapy treatments available. Furthermore, this study shows that this new molecule constitutes not only an alternative to such previously known drugs, but can be combined with them to increase the overall therapeutic effect.”
The study is also a sensational groundwork for further researches on proteins with disordered structure. The findings may help multiply the number of molecular targets that could be hit through a focused use of pharmaceuticals.