Boise State Researchers Target Cancer's Power Source

Aug 15, 2017

Two new drugs developed by Boise State University researchers show promise in killing a wide variety of cancer cells.

Out of 60 cancer cells tested, these two new drugs helped kill tumors in 58 of the samples.


Biological science professors Abdelkrim Alileche and Greg Hampikian are using a kind of protein called nullomers, which are chains of amino acids not found in nature.


Basically, these proteins drain the source of energy for cancer cells called ATP instead of preventing them from growing and replicating like many chemotherapy treatments do.

 “That ATP level crashes faster than anything that I’ve seen. Anthrax toxins are probably the only thing that compares," Hampikian says. 

Now, he says, it’s a matter of getting the drugs to solely target cancer cells.


“There’s still side effects we see in some of the normal cell lines that we expose them to and so that has to be worked on like any candidate drug, but they just very, very quickly attack the cells by lowering their energy level.”


The next round of trials will focus on testing the drugs in animals, and if they’re successful, eventually testing them with humans.


For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio