Researchers at Hamilton College in New York have identified molecules which have been shown to be effective in the fight against breast cancer. The researchers used the latest computational techniques in a novel way in order to design molecules predicted to be effective compounds for breast cancer research. Subsequently, scientists from Albany Medical College synthesized the predicted molecules and verified that they were potential anti-breast cancer compounds in mouse uterine growth assays, a test with good correlation to human breast cancer inhibition.
The paper, “Computational Design and Experimental Discovery of an Anti-estrogenic Peptide Derived from Alpha-Fetoprotein,” is published in the May 16 2007 issue of the Journal of American Chemical Society.
Tamoxifen is now the preferred drug for treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and many forms of the cancer are resistant to tamoxifen or acquire resistance during treatment. That is why there is ongoing need for breast cancer drugs having different molecular targets.
Previous work by the Albany Medical College researchers had shown that 8- mer and cyclic 9-mer peptides inhibit breast cancer in mouse and rat models, interacting with an unsolved receptor, while peptides smaller than eight amino acids did not.
The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the New York State Breast Cancer Research and Education fund, the Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer program, and the National Science Foundation, had its first presentation of the results at the 2006 International Symposium on Theory and Computations in Molecular and Materials Sciences, Biology and Pharmacology, in February of 2006.
I also want to point out that the photo above is an electron micrograph of a single breast cancer cell, not the molecules in question.