A professor at the University of Central Florida has created two compounds that might destroy breast cancer tumors – thereby creating a fitting tribute to his mother who was a victim of the monster. These compounds show promise in curing breast cancer and give hope to breast cancer patients worldwide. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer after lung cancer causing 502,000 deaths in 2005 worldwide.
Associate Professor Turkson, the creator of these two compounds is a native of Ghana, West Africa. He completed his studies in Biochemistry with Chemistry at the University of Ghana and earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta in Canada. He dedicated his research in finding cure for cancer after his mother died of uterine cancer when he was on his first year in college. It seems that he is now reaping the fruits of his labor. The two compounds S31-201 and S31-M2001 that he created were tested on mice and are found to disrupt the formation and spread of cancer tumors. It seems that these two compounds are attacking STAT3, the cancer-causing protein.
According to Dr. Turkson, human beings have STAT3 protein in their bodies which causes no harm under normal circumstances. However, this protein can becomes abnormally active and helps in the proliferation of cancer cells. This protein also creates a network of blood vessels that feed the cancer cells helping them to grow and spread into other organs of the body. Aside from that, STAT3 also trick the body’s immune system into thinking that tumor cells are harmless.
What S31-201 and S31-M2001 do is prevent one STAT3 molecule from binding to another. If STAT3 molecules cannot bond, they will not become abnormally active and cancer cells will not develop. The blood vessels that feed the cancer cells will also shut-off preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells. The immune system will also re-activate and recognize that cancer cells are harmful and destroys them.
“The compounds are very promising,” Turkson said. “They’ve worked very well in mice, and now we’re looking for partners to help us take these compounds to the next level of trials.” Turkson’s research has been published in the academic journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and ACS Chemical Biology, and he has obtained patents for both compounds.
He is now looking for partners to further his research while working on a similar compound that may cure pancreatic cancer.