Biochemist, Professor Philip Hogg and his team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney are closing in on a new possible treatment for solid tumour cancers. The treatment, which inhibits tumour cell metabolism, provides a new approach to treating cancers, especially pancreatic and brain cancers which have proven to be tough to treat.
For the past 20 years cancer research has targeted specific cell mutations that cause cancer. Cancer cells have been potentially able to continue to mutate around currently known treatments, rendering treatment ineffective for some types of cancer.
Professor Hogg’s novel discovery is based on well-known information that cancer cells metabolise sugars in a different way to normal cells. His first breakthrough was in mid-1990s when he discovered a new type of chemical modification of proteins that determined how when and where the protein worked. Subsequently Professor Hogg’s research team discovered that the chemical modification process targeted a cell’s metabolism of glucose.
This knowledge led to the discovery of a molecule that can deactivate glucose metabolism in cancer cells. The promising new approach at the fundamental molecular level could make it harder for cancer cells to continue to grow and adapt.
Professor Hogg’s team is trialling the new treatment on 22 patients in Sydney and Melbourne with funding from the Cancer Council NSW and NSW Cancer Institute. The next six months will determine the success of the trials.
Watch Professor Hogg’s interview on Channel 9 on 6 September 2015.
Professor Hogg’s interview has also been published in the Australian on 5 September 2015
Professor Hogg has been a member of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s Medical Research Advisory Committee since 2003. Committee members consider all applications received for ACRF grants funding, making recommendations to the Board of Trustees of ACRF as to where grants could be awarded for maximum impact and innovation in cancer prevention, diagnosis and cure.