Researchers have identified a compound that could correct a mutation and stop cancer from spreading — a development that could eventually be used to treat tens of thousands of cancer patients in the United States each year.
In a study published today in the journal Cancer Cell, four scientists from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Institute for Advanced Study laid out their work involving a compound that corrects a mutation in the valuable p53 protein — “a kind of common denominator” in a wide ranger of cancers, including ovarian, pancreatic, breast, lung, esophageal and others.
The p53 protein is a kind of intracellular security force that cracks down on cells when they go rogue, but which is hijacked by cancer, allowing malignant cells to spread.
The compounds tested — called thiosemicarbazones — have been intermittently investigated as cancer-fighters for decades, but are only now being singled out as a treatment for a specific group of cancers. The researchers found the compounds shrank or slowed the growth of tumor cells in mice.