Skip to main content

School of Pharmacy researchers develop new compound to fight cancer

23 September 2020

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, have developed new molecules that can initiate an immune response against cancer cells.

Among a raft of state of the art strategies currently being explored and used to treat cancer is immunotherapy, which involves the participation of the immune system to mount an attack on cancer cells and tumours that were previously undetectable. Some immunotherapy approaches are already in clinical use, and the technology was recognised in 2018 when two of its pioneers, James P Allison and Tasuko Honjo, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Aiming to develop new immunotherapeutics, a team of researchers led by Dr. Youcef Mehellou from Cardiff University and Prof. Ben Willcox from the University of Birmingham, have developed a series of compounds that selectively target and activate one type of immune cell, which is thought to be important in fighting cancer. This sub-type of immune cell was then shown to be effective in eradicating bladder cancer cells. Although the team previously reported a series of compounds that perform the same function, the new series are far more potent than the first generation and have better chemical properties that are likely to make them better medicines.

Dr. Youcef Mehellou, who co-lead the study, said: “This new series of compounds have great promise to be developed into much needed anticancer therapeutics. Working with our expert collaborators and partners, our focus now is on identifying the cancers where these compounds will have optimal therapeutic effects and progressing the compounds to studies in humans as soon as possible.”

More details about these new immunotherapeutics compounds can be found here.

Share this story