One strategy that Dr. Bally has been using to develop drug candidates for use in treating cancer involves repurposing drugs utilized for the treatment of diseases other than cancer; illnesses such as malaria, fungal infections or even alcoholism. He wants to repurpose these drugs for use in patients with cancer because they have unusual and unexpected ways of affecting cancer cell growth and survival. Further these drugs are very active in cancer cells that are resistant (insensitive) to one of the most commonly used drugs available to oncologist- cisplatin. Sadly, the useful form of these approved drugs is often water insoluble and cannot be injected into patients. Dr. Bally's team has solved this problem for many such drugs by synthesizing them inside small (100 times smaller than a red blood cell) spherical structure prepared from lipids. These structures are called liposomes ("lipid bodies"). Liposomes with entrapped drugs have been used successfully to improve the therapeutic effects of cancer drugs, but in the current research the liposomes are enabling the creation of the active drug inside the spherical structure in a manner which keeps the drug in solution; in a form that can be administered to patients. This research program will characterize and develop selected versions of these drugs for use in the treatment of cancers that are resistant or insensitive to cisplatin.
Funded by: Canadian Institutes of Health Research