Molecules That Hunt Down and Kill Cancer
If you could make up a sci-fi movie where cancer was the bad guy, how would you “get him?”
Maybe your scientist-hero would invent a radioactive molecule that, when injected into the body, could seek out and kill cancer.
It sounds far-fetched, but it’s real. This is just one of the many new ways that PCF is looking at the cancer problem– leveraging ideas and discoveries across all cancers, and translating those solutions back across all relevant cancers. In this case, scientists discovered that PSMA can be targeted similarly to HER2 in breast cancer.
PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen) is a protein that is found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. Its unique signature can be tracked by small molecules injected into the bloodstream. PSMA-PET is a relatively new imaging that uses PSMA’s signature for added scan sensitivity, to identify metastasis earlier than traditional bone scans. PCF is actively funding four PSMA-related projects with more in the works.
Researchers discovered that if you attach a radioactive isotope to the PSMA-targeting molecule (together known as a “radiopharmaceutical”), we have a particularly effective way not just of hunting down but of killing prostate cancer cells anywhere in the body (metastases).