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Posted: 30 October 2006

New range of anti-cancer drugs discovered by UCD researchers

Dr. Margaret McGee from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and an investigator at the UCD Conway Institute is developing a new range of targeted anti-cancer agents.

Dr. Margaret McGee
Dr. Margaret McGee

Through a successful collaboration involving a team of chemists, structural biologists, and cell biologists, the research group has designed and synthesised a series of compounds that block the action of a cancer promoting protein at very low doses, and which leads to the
induction of programmed cell death of the cancer cells.

"The newly synthesised drugs display strong anti-cancer activity against a range of human cancers, and they have little or no effect on normal cells," says Dr McGee.

Speaking of the discovery, Dr Patrick Corley of Cancer Research Ireland said: “the research group has discovered potentially clinically-relevant anti-cancer drugs using x-ray crystals of an immunosuppressant drug called Cyclosporin A.” Dr Corley has confirmed that Cancer Research Ireland will fund the next stage of drug development, which will initially focus on “killing breast cancer cells."

Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women worldwide. On average, 2700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland every year. And incidence rates for Ireland are increasing by 1.5% per year.

Cancer Research Ireland is the research division of the Irish Cancer Society. It is the largest single voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland and is investing over €2.6 million in cancer research over the next 12 months.

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