New study: Two peptide agent combination might block tumor growth

February 12, 2016

Peptide inhibitors consist of short chains of amino acids (the VEGF inhibitor is 22 amino acids long) that conform in shape to the active site of the target receptor. In addition, Kaumaya engineered the VEGF peptide to be resistant to protease, an enzyme, thereby increasing its efficacy. The shape of the peptide HER-2 inhibitor engineered by Kaumaya and his colleagues, for example, is highly specific for the HER-2 receptor. It physically binds to the receptor, which prevents another substance, called epithelial growth factor, from contacting the receptor and stimulating the cancer cells to grow.

Other categories of targeted drugs in clinical use are humanized monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule TKI inhibitors. Both groups are associated with severe side effects and are very expensive, Kaumaya says. "We believe peptide inhibitors offer non-toxic, less-expensive alternatives to humanized monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule inhibitors for the treatment of solid tumors, with the potential for improved efficacy and better clinical outcomes," he says.

Source: Ohio State University Medical Center