Science Creates Cutting Edge Treatments (02:58)
At the Auckland Cancer Society Research Center, scientists developed PR509, a non-toxic anti-cancer drug, to treat solid tumors like ovarian, breast, and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Rod Dunbar discusses the biology of cancer. Cancer starts with cell DNA mutation. See the properties of cancer cells and tumors.
Standard Cancer Treatment (02:49)
Medical oncologist Mark McKeage discusses the effectiveness of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Experts look for a new type of chemotherapy that does not attack cell DNA but targets unique tumor characteristics. Prodrugs reveal remarkable anti-cancer activity compounds. Experts compare traditional chemotherapy to prodrugs.
How Prodrugs Work (03:46)
Prodrugs target cancer cells and not healthy living tissue. Dr. John Watt explains that prodrugs work by exploiting a tumor's hypoxic areas and targeting the four human epidermal growth factor (HER) receptors on a cell's surface. Hypoxic areas are dynamic, making it challenging to isolate the low oxygen areas.
Blocking HER Receptors (01:30)
Herceptin targets the antennae portion of a human epidermal growth factor (HER) receptor; PR509 is designed to block all four HER receptors. Evidence suggests that if you drug hypoxic cells, you shut down the growth factor supply to the rest of the tumor.
Molecular Models (01:56)
Experts create a 3D representation of potential drugs to see if they will connect to human epidermal growth factor (HER) receptors. Dr. Jack Flanagan's work helps to identify the most appropriate chemical matter to design, and synthesis for a prodrug.
Making and Testing a Prodrug (01:59)
Dr. Jeff Smaill uses 13 synthetic steps to make PR509. He discusses the biggest challenges to the synthesis. Dr. Adam Patterson exposes cancer cells to PR509 to see if the drug will bond to the human epidermal growth factor (HER) receptors and test its potency.
PR509 in the Real World (02:51)
Dr. Patterson and Dr. Smaill consider the potential for PR509 side effects. PR509 soon goes to pre-clinic toxicology trials. Phase I trials will establish the maximum does of PR509 that a patient can receive. Phase II will verify that the treatment will attack cancer cells in a tumor. Phase III will verify the treatment works in patients.
A Potential New Chapter in Cancer Treatment (03:30)
Dr. Rod Dunbar discusses the implications of a new tool in the fight against cancer. The development of PR509 is the result of top class international research and the dedication of a range of scientists over 25 years. Experts reflect on the possibilities of PR509.
Credits: What Is Science Doing to Fight Cancer? Ever Wondered? (Series 2) (00:30)
Credits: What Is Science Doing to Fight Cancer? Ever Wondered? (Series 2)
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