Development of Anti-Cancer Drugs
Dr. Yusuke Nakamura’s group has identified a number of novel molecular targets that can be applicable to development of anti-cancer drugs (molecular-targeting drug, cancer vaccine, and antibody) and reported their biological functions in human cancers. Using such information, his group has developed two monoclonal antibodies, one against FZD10 that was expressed exclusively in synovial sarcoma and the other against CDH3 that was expressed in many types of cancer. The phase I clinical trial for synovial sarcoma using 90Y-conjugated anti-FZD10 antibody is ongoing. They with OncoTherapy Science have isolated nearly 100 peptides (HLA-A02 or HLA-A24 restricted), corresponding to a part of oncoantigens, which effectively induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and are thought to be able to specifically kill cancer cells in an HLA-A restricted and antigen-dependent manner. In addition, the Nakamura team has reported development of two novel small molecular compounds inhibiting two different oncogenic kinases, one targeting MELK (maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase) and the other targeting TOPK (T-lymphokine-activated killer cell-originated protein kinase). MELK is a protein that was implied its involvement in the maintenance of tumor-initiating cells. TOPK plays a critical role at the final step of cytokinesis.