UF Researchers Discover Breakthrough Anticancer Drug (UF Health Newsroom)

UF Researchers Discover Breakthrough Anticancer Drug

Researchers from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy have discovered a safer and more effective anticancer drug to target leukemia, lymphoma, and breast and lung cancers. The journal Nature Medicine published the findings.

Known as DT2216, the drug acts on a protein called B-cell lymphoma-extra large, or BCL-XL, which fuels the growth of malignant cells and strengthens their resistance to therapy. An inhibitor of the protein already exists, but it causes a drop in blood platelets, raising the risk of bleeding. Because of these concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved that drug and scientists have been seeking alternatives.

UF researchers developed the new BCL-XL-targeting anticancer drug using a technology that relies on PROTACs, small molecules that, instead of just suppressing cancer-promoting proteins, help cells break them down. The result was more potent against a variety of human tumor cells bolstered by BCL-XL, yet were less toxic to platelets.

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