Using high-throughput screening methods, cancer researchers from the UK have identified some promising drug candidates to test thousands of molecules. Specifically, they studied a protein called-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) as a potential target for therapeutics in prostate cancers. The experiments show that reducing the AMACR protein makes cancer cells less aggressive and allows their behavior to be like normal cells.
“The protein AMACR has been shown to be present in larger quantities in aggressive prostate cancer cells, and this research group have successfully developed a technique to find the protein and monitor its activity. Further to this, they have now found certain compounds that can target this protein's activity in the lab, and stop the cancer cells in their tracks,” says Simon Grieveson, Head of Research Funding at Prostate Cancer UK.
The study examined more than 20,000 drug-like molecules that inhibit the activity of AMACR using a method known as simple color-change technique. The technique allows for quick assessment of active compounds and identification of new types of drugs. Findings were published in the journal Bioorganic Chemistry.
Lead author Dr Matthew Lloyd said: "Although previously identified drugs are very effective in laboratory tests, in practice they are difficult to use in therapies because their properties do not allow easy distribution throughout the body. We started this study because we wanted to identify drugs which would be easier to use therapeutically. Although the particular compounds identified in this study did not kill prostate cancer cells very effectively, it is very promising that drug-like molecules were identified,” says lead author of the study, Dr. Matthew Lloyd rom the University of Bath.
Learn more about prostate cancer:
“The research is still in its infancy and is some way off from clinical investigation, however this is certainly promising and we look forward to seeing how this research progresses over the coming years,” says Grieveson.
Source: Science Daily