Novel Melanoma Drugs Shows Promise

HA15 causes melanoma cell death, but does not affect healthy cells.

Researchers in a recent study were able to synthesize and develop new drugs for the treatment of melanoma. One drug, HA15, was able to kill melanoma cells without killing healthy cells.

There has been encouraging results from treating metastatic melanoma with targeted therapies or immunotherapies, but most patients need additional treatments to prevent more metastases from occurring, according to the study published by Cancer Cell.

Researchers in the study discovered that thiazole benzensulfonamides (TZB) have anticancer properties.

"Initially this family of drugs was identified in type 2 diabetes, as it increased the sensitivity of cells to insulin. If we wanted to use it against cancer, we had to be able to eliminate this proinsulin activity," said lead researcher Stéphane Rocchi, PhD. "Thus we started to modify its structure."

Researchers modified the structure of TZD and were able to create HA15 to induce stress in the endoplasmic reticulum. This causes the melanoma cells to die through apoptosis and autophagy, according to the study.

Researchers found that in mice, the drug is able to reduce the tumor without toxicity and found the drug to be active in human melanoma cells. HA15 is also said to be effective on breast, colon, prostate, and pancreas cancers, as well as gliomas and chronic myeloid leukemias.

Researchers wish to start a phase 1 clinical trial in the near future.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to use these new drugs to treat melanoma, and more generally in other types of cancers,” concluded Dr Rocchi.