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Angina drug benefits for liver cancer

Anti-anginal agent perhexiline is one of 101 compounds predicted to prevent cancer growth in patients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study published recently in Molecular Systems Biology.1

Researchers generated personalised proteomics data for HCC patients using the antibodies produced in the Human Protein Atlas project. The researchers then generated individual computer models for six HCC patients based on their personal set of proteins and a generic map of human metabolism.

The six personal models were then used to find potential new anti-cancer drugs. By simulating the effect of all possible antimetabolites, the computer generated potential anti-cancer drugs which could be effective in inhibiting tumour growth.

Furthermore, the researchers simulated the effect of these antimetabolites on 83 major healthy cell types in human body to predict their toxic effects. This led to the identification of 101 antimetabolites which were predicted to prevent cancer growth in all six studied HCC patients, whereas 46 antimetabolites inhibited tumour growth only in one or a few of the patients. All 147 were predicted to not be overly toxic to healthy cells.

“With this approach we can find and evaluate new potential drugs, some that could be used for general treatment of HCC, and others that are highly specific for each HCC patient. We can also predict false positive drug targets that would not be effective in all patients. This would lead to more targeted and efficient cancer treatment,” said co-author Dr Adil Mardinoglu (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden).

One of the antimetabolites, perhexiline, was tested in vitro on a liver cancer cell line. As a continuation of this study, perhexiline will be tested on other cancer cell lines, since the researchers believe it may inhibit growth in other types of cancer as well.

Illustration of the Genome-scale metabolic models

Illustration of the Genome-scale metabolic models


1. Agren R, Mardinoglu A, Asplund A, Kampf C, Uhlen M, Nielsen J. Mol Syst Biol 2014;10:721.

Published on: March 28, 2014

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