Kancera reports results from a collaboration with Professor Hakan Mellstedts research group at Karolinska Institute showing that the survival of an aggressive type of human cancer cells from pancreatic cancer is ROR-1 dependent. The results provide further support for the Kancera ROR project developing an effective drug against this severe cancer.
Kancera has previously reported results showing that the expression of ROR protein in cancer cells from the pancreas is high and that Kancera’s small molecule ROR inhibitors efficiently kill these cancer cells. However, published evidence for a survival function of the ROR protein in pancreatic cancer is still lacking.
Pancreatic cancer affects annually over 100,000 patients in Europe and in the U.S.. Survival among these patients is less than two per cent at five years after diagnosis, emphasizing the need for more effective drugs against pancreatic cancer. Large number of errors, mutations, in the genome is one reason for the malign nature of pancreatic cancer. Normally, a cell dies from such large number of mutations, whilst, in contrast, cancer cells survive and spread probably because of an internally generated survival signal.
Kancera hypothesizes that ROR-1 generates this survival signal in pancreatic cancer. Results supporting this have now been generated by Kancera. These results include experiments in which an aggressive type of cancer cells from the pancreas (MiaPaCa2) was prevented from producing ROR-1, as well as experiments in which ROR-1 was blocked with a ROR-specific antibody or Kancera’s ROR-specific small molecules. Taken together these experiments provide strong support for that the cancer cells from the pancreas cannot exist without a functional ROR-1 protein. In summary, this argues for Kancera’s effort to development of ROR inhibitors to treat aggressive cancers.
About the ROR project
ROR is a family of receptor tyrosine kinase receptors originally reported to be linked to fetus development and consists of two receptors, ROR1 and ROR2. Today it is also known that ROR receptors play a role also for cancer cells. It has been shown that inhibition of ROR causes certain cancer cells to eliminate themselves through apoptosis. Since ROR receptors are not present in healthy cells in adults, it is anticipated that a drug targeting ROR will selectively attack the tumor much more forcefully than healthy tissue.
Kancera’s co-founder Professor Håkan Mellstedt has shown that Kancera´s ROR inhibitors are capable of killing cancer cells originating from pancreas and as well as leukemic cells. Professor Mellstedt and other scientists have further shown that ROR is a potential therapeutic target also in prostate-, breast- and lung cancer.
Source: Kancera AB