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New breakthrough treatment destroys even the most resistant cancers

Researchers from UT Dallas have synthesized ERX-41, a new molecule that can kill hard-to-treat cancers like glioblastoma and more.

Published Jun 12, 2022 8:05 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Jul 5 2022 6:11 AM CDT

A study on the cancer treatment titled "Targeting LIPA independent of its lipase activity is a therapeutic strategy in solid tumors via induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress" has been published in the journal Nature Cancer.

New breakthrough treatment destroys even the most resistant cancers 01 |

Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) have synthesized a new molecule capable of killing many cancers that are notoriously difficult to treat, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The new molecule is called ERX-41, which is effective against breast cancer cells with and without estrogen receptors (ERs).

Patients with TNBC have fewer treatment options as the cancer cells have no estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 receptors. However, ERX-41 could kill these cells and effectively treat hard-to-treat pancreatic, ovarian, and brain cancers, notably glioblastoma, the most deadly of brain cancers.

"The ERX-41 compound did not kill healthy cells, but it wiped out tumor cells regardless of whether the cancer cells had estrogen receptors. In fact, it killed the triple-negative breast cancer cells better than it killed the ER-positive cells," said Dr. Jung-Mo Ahn, a co-corresponding author of the study and a UT Dallas associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

"For a tumor cell to grow quickly, it has to produce a lot of proteins, and this creates stress on the endoplasmic reticulum. Cancer cells significantly overproduce LIPA, much more so than healthy cells. By binding to LIPA, ERX-41 jams the protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum, which becomes bloated, leading to cell death," said Ahn.

"Triple-negative breast cancer is particularly insidious - it targets women at younger ages; it's aggressive; and it's treatment resistant. I'm really glad we've discovered something that has the potential to make a significant difference for these patients," Ahn continued.

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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