Scientists Discover a Potential New Cancer Treatment Drug
18 Sep 2020







​Just published! After screening 100,000 Compounds, Scientists Discover a Potential New Cancer Treatment Drug​

[Pictured: Zeiss Elyra PS1]


The Octopus Imaging Cluster has aided a long-term study by researchers from the Francis-Crick Institute, AstraZeneca, and Kings College London to find a more effective drug to treat breast cancer.


30 years after the discovery of the HER3 cell growth initiator, scientists have now discovered a small molecule inhibitor called AC3573, which could serve as a potential new cancer treatment drug. The study, which was published in the Biochemical Journal, was conducted by a collaboration between Francis-Crick Institute, AstraZeneca, Kings College London, and CLF, including microscopy scientists Dr Laura Zanetti-Domingues and  Dr Selene Roberts, and data scientists Dr Michael Hirsch and Dr Dan Rolfe. Using the CLF's advanced laser microscopy systems, the mechanism behind the new drug candidate was revealed.


Using quantitative, nanoscale imaging available at the Octopus Imaging Cluster in the Central Laser Facility, Laura Zanetti-Domingues and Selene Roberts studied what effect lapatinib and AC3573 has in cells with HER2/HER3 association. In the first round of experiments, Laura used OCTOPUS' Single Molecule microscopes and worked with Dan Rolfe to analyse the images. This demonstrated there is a lower association between HER2/HER3 when AC3573 is added.

Following the first round of experimentation, using stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) it was observed that when AC3573 binds to HER3, it induces structural changes that prevents the formation of the HER2-HER3 complex.  Dr Michael Hirsch (Octopus data scientist) conducted the cluster and co-localisation analysis on STORM images of receptors in cancer cell lines called SKBR3, which stipulated that AC3573 has a neutralizing effect as it reduces active HER2-HER3 interaction. Michael's analysis showed that AC3573, unlike lapatinib, has no effect on basal HER2.


Further experimentation will be conducted into this particular research area; however, this proof-of-concept study highlighted the relevance of alternative HER3-mediated pharmacological therapies that could help fight aggressive b​reast cancers.


Read the paper here!

Contact: Szynkiewicz, Marta (STFC,RAL,CLF)