WASHINGTON – A research team that includes a Japanese professor at the University of Chicago has shown that a drug being developed in Japan can eradicate lung cancer cells, according to a study published in the U.S. medical journal Science Translational Medicine.
According to the study, the research team found that the drug, which is called OTS964 and is being developed by a startup company outside of Tokyo, helped eliminate human lung cancer tumors transplanted into mice, by inhibiting the activity of a specific protein.
The protein, called TOPK, is known to help increase cancer cells in organs such as the lungs and breasts.
“It is rare to see complete regression of tumors in a mouse model,” the researcher, Yusuke Nakamura, said in a news release on the university’s website. “Many drugs can repress the growth but it is uncommon to see them eradicated.”
The research team plans to conduct a clinical test at the University of Chicago as early as the fall of 2015, aiming to assess the drug’s safety for human use.
The drug is being developed by OncoTherapy Science Inc. in Kawasaki. The team used the drug to treat a highly aggressive human lung tumor that had been transplanted into mice. Most of the cancer cells had disappeared after four weeks, the study said.
The drug has some side effects but they can be reduced, according to the news release.