New project: New blood cancer treatment targeting cancer proteins – University of Copenhagen

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05 December 2016

New project: New blood cancer treatment targeting cancer proteins

new project

A new Danish research project seeks to create tailored therapies for patients affected by the cancer types bone marrow cancer, acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Far from all Danish patients diagnosed with cancer such as bone marrow cancer, acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia are cured. In addition, the current treatment leads to numerous side effects and typically only offers temporary remission of disease for the individual patient. Furthermore, the treatment and care of patients affected by these types of cancer pose a significant social-economic burden to society.

The overall aim of the new research project is to develop new treatment targeting the enzymes NSD1, NSD2 and NSD3 which often are involved in the development of these types of cancer.

The potential of the new drugs is great, since the pre-clinical and clinical data have shown that the increased activity of the NSD-proteins can cause cancer, and that this activity is necessary for the survival of such cancers.

Therefore, the project aims to discover or develop drugs that can adhere to the NSD enzymes in a way so they are turned off. These drugs are also expected to lead to fewer side effects. Therefore, the goal of the project is to develop tailored cancer treatment that will increase the cure rate of the affected patients instead of simply offering temporary improvement as we see today.

The project has two partners who in close collaboration and with complementary competencies will work to ensure that the project will be successful. BRIC, Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen, is world leading within epigenetic enzymes, a class of enzymes often associated with the development and progression of cancer.

The other partner, the biotech company Nuevolution, has developed a unique proprietary platform to identify new drug candidates. Furthermore, Nuevolution has great experience using the platform in pharmaceutical research from collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies as well as from Nuevolutions own internal programs.

What is unique about the partnership is the combination of BRICs cancer expertise and the production of high quality proteins and the fact that Nuevolution holds a special technology that not many industries have access to.

- I am very happy for the funding we have received from the Innovation Fund Denmark making it possible to work together with one of the world's leading biotech companies who can identify new therapeutics. Without this funding it would not have been possible, says BRIC Director Kristian Helin.

- We are thrilled about this new collaboration with Kristian Helin and his research group, a recognized world leading capacity within cancer research and histone methyl transferases. Chemetics has already successfully identified inhibitors to multiple classes of epigenetic enzymes including histone methyl transferases, says Thomas Franch, Nuevolution’s Chief Scientific Officer.

- Nuevolution seeks to realize personalized medicine within cancer therapy, and the collaboration with Krsitian Helin and his group has exactly this scope.