NZ Herald: Foreign teams to work on promising NZ cancer drug

Martin Johnston writes in the New Zealand Herald about a ‘stealth’ anti-cancer drug, developed by Auckland University researchers, which is to begin clinical development overseas.

The drug, PR509, targets lung tumours while leaving healthy tissue alone: it is activated by the hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions which exist in solid tumours.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“”Standard treatments for cancer are indiscriminate in their attack against both cancer cells and healthy cells,” said Dr Patterson, a cancer biologist, “and this toxicity in normal tissues limits the dose that can be safely administered to patients.

“”Creating a pro-drug that only becomes active once it reaches the tumour is an efficient way of overcoming this problem.

“”About two-thirds of tumours contain zones not reached by oxygen,” said Dr Smaill, a medicinal chemist.”