World’s first drug that blocks metastasis developed

Spanish researchers create a nanocomposite that slows the spread of colon cancer

Science has struck a sure blow against colon cancer, the malignant tumor with the highest incidence in our country. Spanish researchers have successfully tested in animals a nanodrug capable of blocking the spread of the disease, known as metastasis. A process that affects forty percent of the million cases of this type of cancer diagnosed each year in the world, and which represents the main cause of death.

The research, published in the scientific journal “EMBO Molecular Medicine”, opens a new avenue to prevent metastasis in colorectal cancer in humans, using a nanomedicine that selectively eliminates metastatic stem cells.

The new drug works like a drone that identifies a receptor (CXCR4) on metastatic stem cells. Once located, it administers the drug and destroys them, blocking metastasis, according to research sources. By acting only on metastatic tumor cells, the new nanodrug avoids the general toxicity associated with standard cancer treatments and spares healthy cells. Although it has so far been successfully tested in animals suffering from colorectal cancer, the researchers who conducted the trial believe that it could be used in 20 additional types of tumors, which also express CXCR4, such as prostate, breast, ovarian and others.

The researchers emphasized that this is “the world’s first selectively antimetastatic drug that addresses the medical need to block metastatic dissemination”. This is the leading cause of death in cancer patients, “while eliminating the toxicity and adverse effects of conventional treatments.”

The Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona could be the first center in the world to carry out clinical trials to evaluate this new drug in patients, prior to its possible introduction into clinical therapy. The work has been carried out jointly by researchers from the Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau), Hospital Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Bioingeniería, Biomateriales y Nanomedicina (CIBER-BBN), who have been the creators of the nanopharmaceutical. In addition, the research has been led by Ramon Mangues (IIB Sant) and Antonio Villaverde and Esther Vázquez, both from UAB, and all of them members of CIBER-BBN.

Scientists have detailed that the drug acts only on metastasis-initiating cells, through its specific interaction between a peptide present in the protein nanoparticle that transports it and the cellular receptor CXCR4, which is overexpressed in tumor cells.

“This makes it possible to attack only the tumor cells, blocking their dissemination in early stages, thus preventing the appearance of metastasis, while avoiding the adverse effects derived from the usual treatments,” the researchers explain.

High Impact

Scientists believe that the nanoparticle can be targeted to treat different types of neoplasms (tumors), making it a very versatile vehicle that can carry different highly potent therapeutic molecules for various types of cancer.

There are currently no drugs on the market that selectively eliminate metastatic stem cells, so this discovery could have a high clinical impact once the necessary trials have been completed and it can be applied in humans. Visit our website HERE