Scientists at TSU and the Tomsk Research Center and colleagues from Heidelberg University and the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre are developing a new way to fight cancer. As a part of the Alpha-Chit project, they investigated the properties of a chitinase-like protein that can be an effective tool for the treatment of cancer. Preclinical trials have shown that the protein blocks signals that attract cells to the problem area and contribute to the growth and metastasis of the tumor.
According to Dr. Kzhyshkovska, to prevent the tumor from developing, it is necessary to prevent it from attracting monocytes to the problem area, which eventually differentiate into “bad” macrophages (M2). In some cases, for example, in breast cancer, they make up about half the mass of the tumor. The chitinase-like protein turned out to be a tool to block the migration of monocytes. Its effectiveness was tested during preclinical trials.
Thus, chitinase-like protein disrupts the life support of the tumor, inhibits its progression, and leads to a reduction in the size of the tumor. Now scientists have to solve another important task - to find a way to deliver therapeutic protein into the tumor microenvironment. They plan to use nanoparticles as a vehicle.
Professor Julia Kzhyshkovska, Scientific Director of the Laboratory of Translational Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine at TSU, Head of the StrAU Institute of Biomedicine, Co-Chairman of the TSU Council of the Center for High Technologies in Medicine, and Head of Department of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine and Immunology of the Heidelberg University (Germany) is known in the scientific world as one of the leading experts in studying the molecular mechanisms of inflammation underlying the formation of malignant tumors and cardiovascular diseases.