Cancer Research Update: British Journal of Cancer Publishes Danciu-led 1st-in-Human Phase 1 Study

In a Cancer Center cancer research update, a new report on the first-in-human, phase I study of procaspase-activating compound 1 (PAC-1), a small molecule that activates the protein procaspase-3 (PC-3) and induces cell death in cancer cells, was published in the British Journal of Cancer by a team of researchers led by University of Illinois Cancer Center Associate Director of Clinical Research Oana Danciu, MD.

Cancer Research at the Cancer Center: PAC-1 in Advanced Cancer

The cancer study, which included researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, assessed the maximum tolerated dose, safety, and pharmacokinetics of PAC-1 in heavily pretreated patients with advanced cancers.

PC-3 is overexpressed in numerous cancers so targeting PC-3 in tumor cells is emerging as an anticancer treatment strategy, making it a crucial aspect of cancer research. PAC-1 was discovered to have the ability to induce activation of PC-3 in vitro and cell death (apoptosis) of cancer cells in culture, according to background in the cancer study.

The Findings

The study on advanced cancer concluded: “PAC-1 dose at 750 mg/day was recommended for phase 2 studies. Activity of PAC-1 in treatment-refractory neuroendocrine (NET) tumor warrants further investigation.”

Along with the University of Illinois Cancer Center, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Maryland and the HealthPartners Institute Regions Cancer Care Center in Minnesota also were recruiting sites.

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