Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed a new drug that works against all of the main types of primary bone cancer.
The study shows how a breakthrough drug called CADD522 blocks a gene associated with driving the cancer’s spread in mice implanted with human bone cancer.
The drug increases survival rates by 50% without the need for surgery or chemotherapy.
The team collected bone and tumour samples from 19 patients at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, UK. They used next generation sequencing to identify small RNAs that were different during the course of bone cancer progression.
They also showed that gene RUNX2 is activated in primary bone cancer and that this gene is associated with driving the cancer’s spread. CADD522 is a small molecule which blocks the RUNX2 protein from having an effect.
First new treatment in 45 years
Lead researcher Dr Darrell Green, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, was inspired to study childhood bone cancer after his best friend died from the disease as a teenager.
Dr Green said: “In preclinical trials, metastasis-free survival was increased by 50% using the new CADD522 drug on its own, without chemotherapy or surgery. I’m optimistic that combined with other treatments such as surgery, this survival figure would be increased further.
“This breakthrough is really important because bone cancer treatment hasn’t changed for more than 45 years. The new drug that we have developed is effective in all of the main bone cancer subtypes, and so far, our experiments show that it is not toxic to the rest of the body.”
The drug is now undergoing formal toxicology assessment before the team approach the MHRA for approval to start a human clinical trial.
The paper ‘YBX1-interacting small RNAs and RUNX2 can be blocked in primary bone cancer using CADD522’ is published in the Journal of Bone Oncology.