Promising drug against childhood osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer with a poor prognosis

Childhood osteosarcoma is a type of cancer with a poor prognosis that develops in the cells that form the bones. It is a rare malignant tumor, but accounts for 4% of cancers diagnosed in children in Spain. A UB team led by Professor Maria Dolors Pujol has synthesized a new compound with the potential to become a drug of choice against this disease, for which there is no specific treatment.

The most widespread therapeutic strategy for the treatment of osteosarcoma consists of surgical intervention involving amputation of the affected limb, as this severe disease usually starts in the long bones of legs and arms. Chemotherapy is also applied to prevent metastasis to the lungs and other organs, but the drugs currently used have not shown the efficiency required to slow down the evolution of the tumor and contribute to the complete cure of the disease, which has a very high mortality rate.

The UB team has synthesized a new compound that has shown excellent results in in vitro trials with cancer cell samples, as it has managed to inhibit the activity of human cells connected to osteosarcoma, especially the most aggressive ones (MNNG/HOS). Furthermore, these experiments have also shown that the effects of the new drug on healthy human cells are nearly negligible.

The medium-term goal of these UB researchers is to complete the biological assessment of the new compound, called PM-01, with the collaboration of the research group specialized in the study of childhood osteosarcoma led by Dr. J. Roma, from the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology, and the group led by Prof. F. Verrecchia at the University of Nantes (France). The Bosch i Gimpera Foundation has granted €25,000 to this project within the framework of the call for proposals of the Fund for the Promotion of Innovation (F2I) so that these new experiments can be carried out and the new compound can be valorized.

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