New Compound May Lead to Less Expensive Cancer Drugs

Compound can monitor biochemical processes involved with protein kinases.

Compound can monitor biochemical processes involved with protein kinases.

A new compound may play a key role in the development of less expensive anti-cancer drugs, according to a recent study.

The compound, developed by the University of Toronto Scarborough, can be utilized for monitoring the biochemical processes that are associated with protein kinases. Currently, radioactive isotopes are the main process for monitoring kinase activity, which carry a higher cost and a limited shelf life.

Additionally, isotopes are difficult to utilize due to regulations involved with handling and disposal.

"We wanted to find a way to get around the hurdles involved with using radioactive isotopes," said Professor Bernie Kraatz, who developed the compound. "Having a compound that can be used in live cells is important because it can help clinicians better monitor kinase activity and to determine if a drug they're administering is effective in terms of regulating kinase activity."

Due to the role protein kinase activity plays in the development of certain diseases such as cancer, the researchers sought to develop a method for monitoring this activity. The investigators were able to successfully monitor a sarcoma-related kinase utilizing a redox label instead of a radioactive label.

The redox label compound provides an electrical signal that can be accurately detected for a safe, simple, and cheap alternative for monitoring drug efficiency and kinase activity, the study noted.

Furthermore, the compound developed by the researchers has the benefit of a fluorescence label that can be attached, giving off light that can be detected when excited. This offers an extra readout for clinicians seeking to evaluate kinase activity or drug effectiveness.

"Chemists often come up with wonderful models and reactions but translating those into a biomedical environment can be very difficult," Kraatz said. "We were able to take a fantastic label that can be used perfectly well in a biomedical environment."