The study, published in the Journal of Science Advances, found that the drug has the potential to stunt the cancer cells’ biological clock.
By interfering with the cancer cells’ metabolism and circadian (24-hour cycle) functions, the drug is capable of stopping their growth without harming healthy cells.
The scientists found that a molecule named GO289 targets an enzyme that controls the cell’s circadian rhythm.
Since disrupting sleep and other elements of circadian rhythm can harm the health, the scientists from USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and Nagoya University’s Institute of Transformative Bio-molecules found evidence that same is the case for cancer cells.
“In some cancers, the disease takes over the circadian clock mechanism and uses it for the evil purpose of helping itself grow,” Steve Kay, researcher and neurology professor said.
“With GO289, we can interfere with those processes and stop cancer from growing.”
Having tested the drug on both humans and mice, the scientists found that GO289 hinders all cancers in the same way, affecting cell metabolism and other circadian-related function that allows cancer to grow and spread.
Kay expressed his optimism about the potentials of the drug, adding that it “could become an effective new weapon that kills cancer”.