Bioscience

PBS-Bio identifies mechanism for cancer drug candidate’s effectiveness

March 9, 2011

By Flinn Foundation

Predictive Biomarker Sciences, a Mesa-based firm, has concluded a study that explains how a drug candidate developed by the Brussels-based firm Unibioscreen kills cancer.

Previous studies have shown that over-activity of a gene known as MCL1 can cause cancer cells to grow out of control. PBS-Bio, which is owned in part by the non-profit, Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), co-discovered that UNBS1450 effectively shuts off the gene and induces apoptosis, the cancer cell’s normal process of cellular death.

“It’s a very nice candidate drug,” said Dr. Michael Bittner, a biologist and Principal Investigator of the PBS-Bio technology. Dr. Bittner said UNBS1450 is effective against MCL1 in very low dosages, which means it could potentially be delivered to patients with minimal side effects and low toxicity. MCL1 is prevalent in leukemia, non-small-cell lung cancer, as well as cancers of the prostate and pancreas.

“The presence of MCL1 can be used as a stratification, or predictive, biomarker to help determine which cancer patients are most likely to respond to UNBS1450,” said Dr. Edward Smith, co-founder and CEO of PBS-Bio. This would be particularly beneficial, Dr. Smith said, in selecting patients to participate in clinical trials of UNBS1450, and ultimately in helping physicians decide who should be placed on the drug once it is approved for general use.

Read more at the source: “PBS-Bio uncovers how Unibioscreen drug kills cancer