‘Tumor Shrinking’ Drug Shows Promise in Dogs before Clinical Trials on Humans

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January 24, 2017

PAC-1 is a targeted agent that helps to fight off cancer in pets. Now, the agent is being studied in people to fight off brain tumors, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. This study highlights similarities of brain tumors and other cancer between animals and humans, making it possible to apply therapies and treatments more broadly.

PAC-1 works by getting cancer cells to self-destruct when it calls on an “executioner protein” which helps to destroy the internal workings of a cancer cell. Researchers have found that cancer cells have much more of the protein than normal cells, therefore, side effects are minimal. Initial promising results in dogs have led to a clinical trial with 20 people. 

According to researchers, PAC-1 is likely the first cancer drug to be tested in pets before starting human trials. In addition to brain cancer, PAC-1’s effectiveness is being studied against other cancers, including leukemia, lymphomas, melanoma, and liver cancers.

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