Dom Post: New Zealand scientists find new cancer drug

Ruth Hill of the Dominion Post reports on a new class of anti-cancer drugs, developed by New Zealand scientists from Auckland University, which lack the side-effects of chemotherapy.

Called ‘prodrugs’, they are inactive until triggered by the body’s own processes and shown great promise in lab tests thus far, although the drugs are still several years from any clinical application.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Medicinal chemist Jeffrey Smaill and cancer biologist Adam Patterson, from Auckland University, say their “prodrugs” – inactive compounds triggered by the body’s own metabolic processes – have already shown dramatic results in the lab.

“Their discovery, announced at an international cancer drug conference in Boston this week, is being heralded as a major breakthrough in fighting hard-to-treat cancers, like those of the lungs, brain, pancreas and stomach.

“Dr Smaill, who has spent 10 years synthesising the compounds, said they worked by targeting the proteins in tumours that tell cells to multiply.”