Tuesday, April 7, 2009

HK experts develop new anti-cancer drug

HONG KONG, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed a new drug proven to be able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, according to a press release Xinhua received Tuesday.

Developed by the university's Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, the new drug works on the mechanism of starving cancer cells through depletion of arginine which is a key nutrient for many cancer cells.

The main constituent of the novel drug is arginase, which is anenzyme that degrades arginine, with urea as an end-product.

In the laboratory settings, the new drug has been proven being able to work in cell culture for breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and gastric cancer.

According to the university, this anti-cancer therapy only affects cancer cells but not normal cells, causing less side effects than traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy.

The innovation has recently been awarded the Prize of the State of Geneva and a Gold Medal with Jury's Commendation at the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products of Geneva.

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