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Research field

Development of 4th generation anticancer drug

While the first-generation anticancer drug has been widespread used for cancer therapy together with surgery, it has been limitedly used due to non-selective properties for target cells. Most of this class of the drugs act on both cells without distinguishing normal cells from cancer cells, leading to killing all the cells near the cancer cells. The unwanted side effects caused by this therapy may frequently destroy the patient's quality of life.

The second-generation anticancer drug is a targeted anticancer drug that can bind to cancer-specific surface antigens. The therapy using these drugs could believed to be a breakthrough therapy for controling the abnormal signaling pathway in cancer cells. However, it is effective at an early stage but it can be difficult to cure completely, because of unexpected immune resistance frequently appeared in the repeated treatments.

The third-generation anticancer drug is an immunotherapeutic drug that is currently in the limelight. It is a technology of effectively removing cancer cells by adding a function to immune cells such as T-cells that can attack cancer cells instead of directly attacking cancer cells. This therapy is known to be effective in restoring the normal immunity from lymphopenia induced by the chemical/radiotherapy. Many researchers are concentrating on the development of this kind of drugs with the hope that they can overcome variety of limits present in conventional cancer therapy.

The fourth-generation anticancer drug targets differential metabolic processes between normal and cancer cells. These drugs may decrease the efficiency of cell growth by inhibiting or bypassing cancer specific metabolic pathway rather than directly binding surface proteins or signaling substances. Especially, our company has been developing the technology for innovative 4-gen drug capable of inhibiting the growth of cancer cells only, and inducing apoptosis by unbalanced nucleotides consumption, rather than simply blocking the metabolic pathway by anti-metabolites. It is an innovative drug candidate that dramatically improves selectivity and reduces toxicity by using it together with a cancer targeted specific binding molecule that can complement innate immunity.