Cancer is among one of the world’s most common diseases
The number of affected patients increases yearly. Thus, cancer is a significant and rising health concern whereby new innovative treatment approaches are desperately required. The most common cancer in women is breast cancer. These patients receive a combination of treatments to enhance the effectiveness of killing and removal of the cancer cells. A common combination is surgery and chemotherapy. However, single-target chemotherapy often leads to drug-resistant cancer cells and consequently to unsuccessful treatment. As our need analysis indicated, the market is in need for improved cancer drugs with either reduced toxicity, increased patient survival, diminished cancer recurrence and potentially decrease the need for surgeries. Therefore, the market (pharma) is actively looking for drugs to test in clinical trials that have the potential to bring improvements to the quality and length of life of cancer patients.
Single-target chemotherapy often leads to drug-resistant cancer cells and consequently to unsuccessful treatment. With our innovation that targets two pathways with one drug, we will reduce the chance of drug-resistance and increase the probability of successful treatment. Furthermore, because cancer cells contain more G4 DNA structures than healthy cells do, targeting cancer via the G-quadruplex DNA pathway confers selectivity to the treatment. Because we selectively increase DNA damage in cancer cells, this approach has an advantage over the current DNA damaging targeting drugs on the market which are also harmful to the healthy cells. Our compound will, therefore, be more effective against cancer cells and reduce the risk of drug-induced side effects.
The benefits of our innovation are four-fold:
• reduced side-effects
• lower risk of drug resistance
• lower production costs
• lower socio-economic costs
Our innovation is a small molecule and thus more cost-effective to produce compared to antibodies that are currently used in cancer therapy. These improvements would reduce the socio-economic costs that are connected to cancer including benefits from the decreased number of surgeries as part of the treatment.
Competition and current status
Today, there are no compounds that target both the STAT3 protein and G4 DNA. Despite great promise, there are no drugs targeting STAT3 on the market, which suggests that single pathway STAT3 inhibition is unlikely to be clinically impactful, further strengthening our strategy to simultaneously target STAT3 and G-quadruplex DNA. Human cell experiments have shown that the drug is very selective for inhibition of STAT3 and G4 DNA structures. Breast cancer cells are more sensitive to our molecule compared to non-cancerous breast cell lines. This confirms the great promise of our drug in the treatment of breast cancer.