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Entirely novel strategy to molecular anticancer therapy tricks malignant cells


New drug prevents tumour growth by inhibiting the nucleotide sanitizing enzyme MTH1

(Vienna, 2 April 2014) A ground-breaking study spearheaded by Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences shows that fast-growing cancer cells are sensitive towards imbalances in the metabolism of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. This vulnerability can be exploited for a radically novel antitumour therapeutic approach. Not only did the researchers from Vienna, in a joint effort with colleagues from Oxford and Stockholm, identify the enzyme MTH1 as an Achilles heel of malignant tumour cells, but also, in a wonderful twist of fate, they discovered the chemical mirror image of an existing anti-cancer drug called crizotinib to be an efficient inhibitor of MTH1 activity. The study was published in advance online by the renowned scientific journal Nature on 2nd  April 2014. (read more)