A research team has confirmed that inhibiting the activity of phosphomevalonate kinase (PMVK) in the body of cancer patients can maximize the effect of radiation therapy, Asan Medical Center said Thursday.
|From left, Professors Choi Eun-kyung, Song Si-yeol, and Jung Sung-yoon|
About half of the cancer patients receive radiation therapy. However, as the radiation emitted by the treatment can damage the healthy tissues surrounding the cancerous tissues, hospitals could only raise the radiation intensity to a certain level. To increase the radiation treatment effect, hospitals, therefore, administer chemotherapeutic agents along with radiation therapy.
The downside to using chemotherapeutic agents is that it can also increase the risk of side effects.
The team, led by Professors Choi Eun-kyung, Song Si-yeol, and Jung Sung-yoon at the hospital, discovered that the amount of protein called PMVK in cancer tissues could predict the effect of radiation therapy. The researchers also found that inhibiting the PMVK can maximize the impact of radiation therapy.
Until now, PMVK has been known to be involved in the synthesis of cholesterol in the body. The team confirmed for the first time that it also affects cancer treatment using radiation, however.
Researchers expect that if a company develops a new PMVK inhibitor, it can significantly increase the treatment for lung and pancreatic cancer compared to existing treatments.
“Existing methods have had limitations in maximizing the effect of radiation therapy when treating cancer patients,” Professor Choi said. “Based on this technology development, however, the team expects that PMVK inhibiting new drugs will maximize the effects while minimizing side effects in non-small cell lung and pancreatic cancer.”
The team has licensed out related technology to EnhancedBio, a local biopharmaceutical company which plans to develop a new immunotherapy agent using the technology.
“The transfer of technology is meaningful in that a hospital has led the development of original technology and a pharmaceutical company will conduct clinical trials, to develop a new drug,” Professor Jung said.
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