UCD researchers discover cancer-fighting drugs

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A new range of anti-cancer drugs has been discovered by researchers at University College Dublin, it was confirmed today.

Dr Margaret McGee, a scientific researcher and biochemistry lecturer at UCD, have been working to create inhibitors to tackle breast cancer.

The work funded by Cancer Research Ireland has designed a series of compounds which at low doses block a cancer promoting protein called Cyclophilin A.

Dr Patrick Corley of Cancer Research Ireland said: “This group has discovered potentially clinically-relevant anti-cancer drugs, using x-ray crystals of an immunosuppressant drug called Cyclosporin A.”

Dr Corley confirmed it had agreed to fund the next stage of the drug development which is initially focusing on killing breast cancer cells.

Dr McGee said: “We are very interested in these compounds, as we have already found that they display strong anti-cancer activity against a range of human cancers, and have little or no effect on normal cells.”

 CRI, which is the research section of the Irish Cancer Society, is the largest single voluntary provider of funding for research into the disease in Ireland. The body is investing over €2.6m in cancer research over the next 12 months.

There are over 20,000 new cases of cancer detected in Ireland each year with over 7,500 deaths from the disease. The latest statistics from the National Cancer Registry found there were 2,285 cases of breast cancer discovered in 2004, with around 650 deaths a year.

The number of cases of breast cancer detected are expected to increase to 4,700 by 2020.

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