Researchers from the University of Surrey showed in a study that a short chain of amino acids, HTL-001 peptide, is effective in targeting and inhibiting the function of Hox genes, which causes the growth of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
These findings came from a seven-year research project conducted in cell and animal models.
The project was implemented in partnership with the universities of Surrey, Leeds and Texas and HOX Therapeutics.
HOX Therapeutics, the startup of the University of Surrey, is in Surrey Research Park.
The peptide HTL-001 analyzed in the study has been tested for safety and is claimed to be suitable for testing.
These studies are currently being studied for the treatment of GBM and other cancers.
A family of genes, the Hox genes are crucial for the proper growth of brain tissue, but are usually silenced at birth after strong activity in the developing embryo.
However, if they are “switched on” incorrectly again, their activity can cause cancer progression.
Hox gene dysregulation is associated with GBM.
Hardev Panda, a professor of medical oncology at the University of Surrey and project leader, said: “People with glioblastoma multiforme have a five percent five-year survival rate, a figure that has not improved in decades.
“While we are still at the beginning of the process, our seven-year project offers a glimmer of hope for a solution to the dysregulation of the Hox gene, which is linked to the growth of GBM and other cancers and which has been elusive for so many years.”
GBM is a common and devastating type of brain cancer in adults.