New drug reduces onset of cancer

New drug reduces onset of cancer

Research team proves the efficacy of new drug against stem cells that provoke the onset and growth of cancer and its metastasis

Thursday, 20th of November of 2014

An Andalusian team of researchers led by the University of Granada has demonstrated the efficacy of a new drug against cancerogenic stem cells, which cause the onset and development of cancer, of relapse after chemotherapy and metastasis. The drug, called Bozepinib, has proved to be effective in tests with mice. The results have been published in the prestigious journal Oncotarget.

The new drug, called Bozepinib, has been successfully tested in mice, and has a selective action against carcinogenic stem cells for breast and colon cancer, as well as melanoma.

Carcinogenic stem cells appear in small quantities in tumours, and one of their important features is that they contribute to the formation of metastasis at different points within the original tumour. Carcinogenic stem cells remain dormant under normal conditions (i.e. they do not divide). Conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy act upon those cancer cells which are clearly differentiated—i.e. which are undergoing processes of division—but they cannot destroy these dormant carcinogenic stem cells. Currently, after a positive initial response to treatment, many cancer patients suffer a relapse because these carcinogenic stem cells have not been destroyed.

During the last few years, research in the fight against cancer has focused on the search for new drugs that can selectively attack these carcinogenic stem cells. If they can be eliminated, the tumour will then be eliminated in its entirety, which would lead to the complete cure of patients.

Scientists in the “Advanced therapies: differentiation, regeneration and cancer” research group led by UGR professor Juan Antonio Marchal have collaborated with Joaquín Campos, from the School of Pharmacy at the UGR, and María Ángeles García, from the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital in Granada, as well as with the the universities of Jaen and Miami (US) to develop the new drug Bozepinib.

Clinical tests on patients

This new drug shows a selective type of activity against carcinogenic stem cells in breast, colon, and skin cancers. “The powerful anti-tumour activity of Bozepinib is due to the inhibition of the HER2 signalling pathway, and to the fact that this drug inhibits the invasiveness and the formation of new vessels in the tumour (angiogenesis)”, says prof. Juan Antonio Marchal. Researchers have also revealed the specific mechanism by means of which Bozepinib acts against carcinogenic stem cells

This new drug proved to be nontoxic for healthy mice when it was intraperitoneally or orally administered, and it also inhibited tumour growth and the formation of lung metastasis in those mice in which the tumour was induced.

Researchers are currently conducting safety tests and they expect that this new drug, as well as its derivatives, can be run through clinical tests with patients in the near future.

201120141 Picture 1: The authors of this research project. Left to right (front row): Cynthia Morata, Gema Jiménez; (back row): Macarena Perán, Juan Antonio Marchal, Alberto Ramírez, Houria Boulaiz, María Ángel García.

201120142 Picture 2: Cancerogenic stem cells

201120143 Picture 3: Histological section cutting of a primary tumour before and after treatment with Bozepinib.

Juan Antonio Marchal Corrales
Centre for Biomedical Research / Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, University of Granada
Phone: 958 249 321


HER2-signaling pathway, JNK and ERKs kinases, and cancer stem-like cells are targets of Bozepinib
Alberto Ramírez, Houria Boulaiz, Cynthia Morata-Tarifa, Macarena Perán, Gema Jiménez, Manuel Picon-Ruiz, Ahmad Agil, Olga Cruz-López, Ana Conejo-García, Joaquín M. Campos, Ana Sánchez, María A. García, Juan A. Marchal
Oncotarget, Vol. 5, No. 11

ARTICLE SOURCE: UGR News (Canal UGR) ugrDivulga