(KCPW News) Researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute have discovered a new compound that could offer hope to patients suffering from leukemia. Dr. Nikolaus Trede says researchers used baby zebrafish to test 26,000 compounds. Researchers watched how the compounds responded to T-cells similar to leukemic T-cells to determine their effect.
“Two days later under the microscope we see if the T-cells had not disappeared or if they were still there,” Trede says. “If they were still there, it was an inactive compound. If the fish had died, it was a toxic compound. But if the fish were alive and only the t-cells had disappeared, then that would be a drug we thought was particularly targeted toward t-cells and therefore might be used to kill leukemic T-cells in a human as well.”
Trede says the new compound, called Lenaldekar, has been tested in mice and is proven to have fewer side effects than current treatments. Doctors say the drug may also give new hope to the five to ten percent of leukemia patients who are resistant to current methods of treatment.
“The compound seems to work by a new mechanism so it attacks two legs that leukemia stands on at the same time, ” Trede says. ” It prevents signals that make the cell grow and survive and it also attacks the phase where the cells have to divide called mitosis.”
The potential drug still needs to be formulated for humans before it can be submitted for clinical trials. Trede estimates that is still a couple years away.
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