According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the 14 million cancer cases detected in 2012 could increase 70% in the next two decades, a panorama that forces to the search of better treatments. For this, researchers at the Faculty of Chemistry of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) synthesized new anticancer drug which was successful in animal trials and now will be tested in humans.
The substance is a derivative of casiopeínas®, mixed-ligand copper compounds to which Dr. Lena Ruíz Azuara, attached to the Department of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, has dedicated 20 years of scientific research.
In laboratory tests, the drug demonstrated efficacy against cervical, breast, colon, lung cancer cells, leukemia and neurological tumors. One of its advantages is that it was designed to specifically attack tumors, which significantly minimizes damaging effects on healthy cells, says the researcher.
The drug will be submitted to clinical trials phase 1 for the development of new drugs in accordance with the guidelines of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS). The testing protocol of the clinical trial is already approved and will be carried out in terminal cancer patients.
During these tests, the researchers will validate its activity and toxicity in humans, as well as the time it takes to enter and leave the body. Dr. Ruíz Azuara is confident that her drug will succeed the clinical trial phase 1; the challenge will be to overcome phase 3, when its effectiveness is compared with medicines already used.
But she has hope because, according to her tests, the substance developed in the UNAM reduces the size of the tumors 60% more than cisplatin, one of the most used drugs in chemotherapy.
This is the first time that a molecule developed in a Mexican university reaches the clinical phase 1, which is why COFEPRIS created the Subcommittee on New Molecules in Development.
The new drug represents a major step forward for the UNAM, with which it hopes to awaken the interest of the biopharmaceutical industry in supporting innovative and competitive therapies.
Dr. Ruíz Azuara, through the UNAM, has patented the results of the research obtained so far. They already have the patent for the molecule and the process to generate the drug, in Mexico and in other countries. In addition, they are waiting for the resolution on a new patent application for the formulation that is being developed in collaboration with the UNAM Chemistry Institute, and which will be used in the clinical trial.
Source: Agencia ID