Taipei Medical University & National Chiao Tung University Join Hands- Discovering New Drugs for Breast Cancer

Source: College of Medical Science and Technology

Published on 2020-03-13

For the 37th straight year, cancer tops the list of the 10 leading causes of death in Taiwan.

To increase the effectiveness of targeted cancer therapies, Taipei Medical University (TMU) and National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) collaborate in developing the Cancer Membrane Protein-regulated Networks (CaMPNets), involving nearly 2,000 membrane proteins (MPs) and their interactions with 15 human cancers. The research was entitled Membrane Protein-regulated Networks across Human Cancers, published in a top-tier scientific journal, Nature Communications, July 16, 2019. In addition to the unprecedented development, the research team finds a type of new drug, patent pending now in several countries, capable of inhibiting the transfer of breast cancer.

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Membrane proteins (MPs) are currently the most important target classes for disease diagnosis and treatment, also becoming one of the most complex topics in medical research. Meanwhile, studies have shown a close relation between MPs and several types of cancers. If more studies were carried out on the mechanism of MPs and their regulated pathways, researchers would be able to form cancer cells, in turn, identify corresponding treatments. This could have a major impact on cancer diagnosis and targeted therapies development.

According to Professor Yuan-Soon Ho from TMU, breast cancer growth caused by smoking is related to nicotine receptors, confirmed by TMU Breast Cancer Translational Research Team in 2010 with the research published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a leading medical journal. Therefore, the future research in breast cancer treatment will focus on developing high-efficiency drugs that can target nicotine receptors and HER-2 as they are two known MPs

In 2010, Prof. Yuan-Soon Ho and the TMU research team confirmed that nicotine receptors are related to smoking-induced breast cancer.

Through the cross-school collaboration, research teams from TMU and NCTU develop prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic drugs using MPs. In addition, a type of antidepressant is found capable of inhibiting breast cancer metastasis. After tested on cultured cells and animals, the new drug is proven effective in inhibiting the transfer of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Prof. Yuan-Soon Ho (4th from right) and the research team at the press conference

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