The Breast Cancer Society of Canada

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Targeting breast cancer cells with host defense peptides

posted by:
Dr Hoskin and Dr Madera

Dr. Hoskin and Dr. Madera at Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute

Current strategies for the treatment of advanced breast cancer, such as administration of chemotherapeutic drugs and ionizing radiation, have severe limitations such as an inability to attack slow-growing cancer cells and adverse side effects due damage caused to healthy cells.

New drugs that attack breast cancer cells without harming healthy cells therefore need to be developed. Host defense peptides (HDPs) found in many different species protect against infection by harmful microorganisms. Certain HDPs also kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells, making them a potential source of new anti-cancer agents. However, the anticancer activity of these HDPs needs to be improved. We have joined HDPs to molecules that target breast cancer cells in order to increase their anticancer activity and enhance delivery to breast tumors. Research into the targeted delivery of HDPs to breast tumor sites is an important step in the development of HDPs as clinically useful anti-cancer agents.

-Drs. David Hoskin and Laurence Madera

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