Taiwan scientists find ways to improve cancer-fighting drugs

Taiwan scientists find ways to improve cancer-fighting drugs

A Taiwanese research team has isolated more than 10 peptides that can improve the efficacy of cancer-treating drugs by helping guide them to home in on tumor cells.

According to team leader Wu Han-chung, associate research fellow at the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology of Academia Sinica -- Taiwan’s leading research organization -- the peptides could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy by five to 12 times, while reducing its side effects.

In the past four years, Wu and his team have successfully used in vivo phage display -- a method of testing interactions between protein and peptides -- to identify more than 10 novel peptides that could target tumor blood vessels.

A peptide is a molecule which consists of two or more amino acids and is smaller than a protein.

Currently, chemotherapy kills both malignant and healthy cells and can produce many unpleasant side effects.

In its laboratory experiments on mice, the research team has found that after the peptides were injected into individual drugs, they could help deliver the dosage directly to tumor tissues, thus substantially reducing the harm done to healthy cells and minimizing the side effects.

Wu said the team has obtained six patents for its work, including three that international pharmaceutical companies have agreed to test in clinical trials.

The results of the study will be published in six medical journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, published by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Cancer Research journal, published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Updated : 2021-04-13 23:00 GMT+08:00