A major problem in developing a successful anti-cancer therapy is finding an agent that will selectively target cancerous cells and ONLY those cells. Researchers at The Jackson Laboratory have identified a molecule that blocks AID expression (used by B-Lymphocytes when producing antibodies), thus causing AID expressing CLL cells to die with minimal impact on normal, healthy cells. The researchers seem confident - they formed Cyteir Therapeutics, Inc. last year to progress to clinical trials.
Some brief quotes from the article:
"In the process of antibody production, B cells turn on the gene known as activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)."
"Researchers in the laboratory of Associate Professor Kevin Mills, Ph.D., identified a molecule called DIDS (for 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2-2'-disulfonic acid) that blocks the DNA repair action in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), causing the cancer cells to die."
"We collected 74 different primary patient CLL samples," Lamont says, "and measured AID expression in those samples. We found that about 40 percent of them express AID, and if we treated those with DIDS in vitro, the AID-expressing ones had significantly higher levels of DNA damage and died."
"Cyteir Therapeutics is now ramping up the R&D efforts necessary to take the genetic chemotherapy treatment to clinical trials, possibly in 2014."