A prototype of a new class of well-tolerated anticancer agents, called CTU, has been developed by pharmaceutical scientists in Australia, and the research presented at the FIP conference.
Research showing the effect of the CTU prototype, in an animal model of breast cancer and on a human breast cancer cell line, was presented today at the 75th International Pharmaceutical Federation World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
In mouse breast cancer models, CTU caused a dose-dependent decrease in tumour size, indicating that cancer cells were killed. In vitro, CTU was found to “potently and rapidly” inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
CTU is a synthetic compound that has been made by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney. It is an analogue of omega-3-epoxy-EPA, which is formed when omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish oils) are metabolised.
“The mechanism of action of CTU is, as yet, unknown but its potential is very exciting,” says Tristan Rawling, Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Pharmacy at the University of Technology Sydney.
Moreover, no toxicity was seen with the effective dose in mice, which means that this compound could be a side-effect-free chemotherapy, he says.
Also of note is that CTU works when given orally to mice. This could mean that future patients prescribed this new class of agent could receive chemotherapy at home rather than in hospital, which, in addition to improving patient convenience, would avoid the costs of hospital care.
A further compound in this new series of omega-3-related agents was found to have no effect on tumour growth but “completely prevented” metastasis, Dr Rawling says.
A patent application has been filed for the series of compounds and negotiations with private investors to accelerate the research have begun.