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Aug. 26, 2016

New compound targets colorectal cancer stem cells

Images showing the effect of NCB-0846 Effect of NCB-0846 on the formation of cancer spheres

Today, there is increasing recognition that cancer is driven by special cells—cancer stem cells—that resist treatment and go on to cause recurrences that are then resistant to the original therapy. In line with this idea, they are trying to develop drugs and other therapies that can target the cancer stem cells, leading hopefully to the complete eradication of the tumor.

In research reported in Nature Communications, a research team led by the National Cancer Center (NCC) and including scientists from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies (CLST), and Carna Biosciences, Inc. has developed a new compound, NCB-0846, which blocks WNT signaling—a key pathway in the proliferation of colorectal cancer stem cells.

According to CLST researcher Mikako Shirouzu, who participated in the team, “We hope that this new compound may give hope to patients with drug-refractory colorectal cancer, as there is of yet no Wnt-inhibiting drug in clinical practice. Colorectal cancer causes approximately 700,000 deaths every year around the globe, so new therapies are desperately needed.”