Researchers from France’s Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) have developed and synthesized new melanoma-fighting drugs that reduce the viability of cancer cells. An initial clinical trial should be launched soon to test the new compounds. As well as treating skin cancer, the drugs have been found effective in combatting other types of tumor, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Melanoma is an extremely aggressive form of skin cancer, notably affecting the cells that synthesize melanin, which gives skin its color.
Researchers based in Nice, France, have discovered a new family of drugs, called Thiazole Benzensulfonamides (TZB), which have useful anti-cancer properties.
This family of drugs was initially identified in research surrounding type 2 diabetes, as it increases cells’ sensitivity insulin. “If we wanted to use it against cancer, we had to be able to eliminate this proinsulin activity,” explains research director, Stéphane Rocchi, in an Inserm news release. “Thus we started to modify its structure.”
One of the new drugs, called HA15, reduces the viability of melanoma cells with no toxic effect on normal cells. The researchers found the drug to be active on melanoma cells retrieved from biopsies from patients who were sensitive or resistant to targeted therapies.
Until now, encouraging results have been obtained when treating melanoma in the metastatic phase using targeted therapy or immunotherapies. However, most patients will need additional treatments to prevent the tumor from returning and metastases from reoccurring.
The new drug was also found to be effective on other types of tumor, such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, and in cases of leukemia.