A study led by researchers at USC School of Pharmacy discusses a way to engineer drugs that highly target malignant tissues without affecting surrounding healthy tissues. These engineered compounds are known as ‘antibody-drug conjugates’ or ADCs that lead the way to better therapeutics for diverse types of cancer.
"Using our approach, homogenous ADCs could be made through a single-step reaction in less than two hours, much faster and more efficiently than conventional approaches," says the study's Principal Investigator, Yong (Tiger) Zhang, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy.
As of now, only eight ADC drugs have been approved by the FDA after countless clinical trials evaluating their efficacy and safety in treating leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer and so much more. The findings were published in Science Advances and describes how ADCs include an antibody that hunts for cancer and that antibody has a chemical linker that is “linking it” to a drug eventually uniting them and eradicating the cancer. This is precisely what makes ADC such an engineered targeted approach.
"Our technology features a designer 'linker' component exclusively recognized by a human enzyme that can rapidly catalyze the conjugation of drug molecules to the antibodies at a defined position," he says. "In addition to its fast rate and high efficiency, our ADC technology offers a new type of linker for connecting the drugs to antibodies. This designer linker ensures stable attachment of the drug and rapid release of the drugs into target cells, making the generated ADCs safer and more efficacious."