Russian scientists have created a breakthrough technology – they have developed a new way to fight cancer. They tested it for the most complicated form of the disease that gives oncologists no time to think about it – liver cancer.
“Primarily for these molecules in question, we are looking at malignant forms, that is, these are states in which time is of the essence. And we are currently working with a number of pathologies. The first of these is hepatocarcinoma. It’s liver cancer,” said Natalia Pozdnyakova, director of science at the biotech company.
The drugs known to the world cover the affected cell like a dome, stopping it from multiplying and can, along the way, snag healthy, fast-growing cells. This is why hair and nails fall out after chemotherapy. The Russian molecule, on the other hand, acts as a targeting agent, targeting only cancer cells.
“The molecule is complex, consisting of two parts. One part attaches to a protein on the surface of the cancer cell, and this protein is responsible for cancer development, i.e. cell reproduction – metastasis. The second part of the cells attaches to a receptor that drags this whole complex inside the cell, and there the destruction of the pathological protein that causes the disease takes place. Thus, once you destroy it, it can no longer help the cancer cell to reproduce and it stops dividing and falls into programmed death,” said Maria Bogachek, head of the development team at the biotechnology company.
The molecule is made up of two parts. Such technology is like a construction kit: it allows you to insert the necessary data into the firmware and “target” a specific disease.
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“We started with oncological diseases, we have a lot of data that our molecules can help in the treatment of oncological diseases, but this is just the beginning. We are working now also in the field of cardiology, in the field of atherosclerosis, and over time, one might say, with the development of this technology, it is possible to switch to other diseases,” said Bogachek.
Scientists have been working on the technology for four years and have now moved on to the next stage, animal testing, to find a safe dosage for the living organism.
“We are conducting research on this molecule – this is the determination of toxicological characteristics. To determine the side effects, to determine the size of the toxic effect on the body, there is dose selection, concentration selection,” said Irina Prosalkova, director general of the Drug Quality Control Research Laboratory.
The release of the drug from the laboratory to the market will not be quick, and clinical trials are still ahead. The specialised site of Mosmedpark, managed by Strogino Technopark, is helping to speed up this process. It is a business incubator in the medical field, which means that several types of research can be carried out in one place – this will reduce time and money considerably.
“They now have the opportunity, while conducting research, coming up with some results, to run processes and laboratory tests of one or another function of their drug in parallel, including using the vivarium,” said Sergei Teplov, general director of the “Strogino” Technopark.
Technology from Russian scientists could create a new group of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry and bring hope of recovery to many patients with dangerous diagnoses.