For many years, the researchers have been struggling to look for newer and more efficient treatment methods for cancer patients. And in their effort to do so, they have identified metabolic therapies as a possible treatment for fighting cancerous cells.
Currently, researchers are focused on finding ways that will attack the growth of cancerous cells. According to them, preventing these cells from getting energy will lead to their death.
With every passing day, there is an addition of more than 100 articles related to cancer. Among these, many address new and promising advances in a research lab. There is an intense struggle to find better treatment options. But in spite of all these advances in cancer research, this disease is still too common.
Traditional methods to fight cancer such as radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy have made great breakthroughs. However, still, they show some limitations.
Chemotherapy is one of the effective methods to promote health of cancer patients and is still considered as the standard of care. But the immunosuppression and often relapse are its drawbacks.
Talking about radiations, many types of radiations can’t reach all body parts and thus can’t be used for malignant cancers. Moreover, immunotherapy has also shown some drawbacks. It shows only 20 – 30% effectiveness in treating some cancers, while in other types of cancer immunotherapy is completely ineffective.
Besides the previously mentioned treatments, there’s another possible method to fight cancer cells, termed as cell metabolic therapy. For many years, metabolic therapies have been a part of the discussion without producing any workable treatment method.
Cell metabolic therapy attacks the mitochondria of cancer cells, hence stopping their growth and preventing them from becoming malignant. Previously, cell metabolic therapy has failed for many years. However, recent data shows a breakthrough in this treatment option.
According to Scientific American article, mitochondria are responsible for the metabolic transformation of a healthy cell to a cancer cell. And it does so by not only producing energy but also some biosynthetic intermediates, that promote the growth and proliferation of the new cell.
Hence, targeting the cancer cells’ mitochondria can reduce their growing ability and can act as a possible way to treat cancer. Moleculin Biotech, a pharmaceutical company, has announced the starting of preclinical testing of its drug WP1122.
The company believes that WP1122 may appear as a new method to treat glycolytic tumors such as glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer. Walter Klemp, CEO, and Chairman of Moleculin stated that some tumors are dependent on glycolysis mechanism for growth and survival.
Cancer cells consume nearly 18 times more glucose than normal cells, it means that one can starve the cancer cells by inhibiting glucose-based energy production through the provision of glucose decoys.
Until the discovery of WP1122, glucose decoys like 2-DG (2- deoxy-D-glucose) were available. But they were less efficient due to their brief circulation time in the body and rapid metabolism.
The Chief Science Officer for Moleculin, Dr. Don Picker said that WP1122 is a prodrug of 2- deoxy-D-glucose. And in lab animals it has significantly increased the half-life of the latter one, thus allowing its increased uptake in the targeted organs and tumors.
Moreover, this glucose decoy can also affect glycan formation and glycosylation that have a direct influence on the function of PD-L1. This activity will increase the response of the immune system towards cancer cells.
Moleculin has been making efforts for the clinical formulation of WP1122 and is enthusiastic to take further steps for placing it into the clinic.