About 400 B.C. Hippocrates related the long, distended veins radiating from some breast tumors to the limbs of a crab, hence karkinoma in Greek and later cancer, the Latin equivalent. But, 24 centuries on and there is still no effective general cure of cancer and no sign that one is about to be discovered.
The unifying aspect of cancer is uncontrolled growth, the appearance of disorganized tissues that expand without limit, compromising the function of organs and threatening the life of the organism. The hundreds of faces of cancer come from the variety of sites it can appear in the body and from the distraction of a complicated molecular signaling network. Each cell type, each tissue, may spawn a distinct type of tumor with its own growth rate, prognosis and management.
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy to eliminate surviving cancer cells. Despite its sometimes spectacular successes with certain cancers, the overall verdict on chemotherapy is not favorable and the five‑year survival rates for most tumors have not improved significantly in the years since chemotherapy was initially used. It is possible that current chemotherapeutic modalities might target an incorrect cancer cell population. By developing novel molecular therapies to target the originator cancer cells, called cancer stem cells, medicine may be able to overcome drug resistance and achieve successful cancer treatment. It is natural, then, to inquire whether new, more specific therapies can be devised by taking advantage of what is known about cancer stem cells, particularly those that lead to local invasion and to metastatic colonization.
Our company is on the forefront of the most exciting ways to treat cancer utilizing the remarkable cell-translocating abilities of the Trojan Peptide Antennapedia
- First we use the distinctive properties of tumor cells to ensure that our anti‑tumor agents are delivered preferentially to the cancerous target cells than to normal cells.
- Our second approach is to interfere with signaling pathways, such as Notch, that display exaggerated activity in a cancer cell.
- Our third approach is to restore the functions normally provided by a tumor suppressor gene such as p53 or p21 that has been inactivated during malignant development.