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Will Adamed Group win against cancers? Part I of the interview with Dr Jerzy Pieczykolan ab

Will Adamed Group win against cancers? Part I of the interview with Dr Jerzy Pieczykolan about 3-CLA project

Publish date: 2013-01-08

Adamed is a Polish pharmaceutical and biotech company focused on the next generation drug development and production. For over 25 years, the company has been providing pharmaceuticals to patients suffering from cardiology, pulmonology, gastroenterology, gynaecology, diseases of the central nervous system or ophthalmology. With robust R&D department, Adamed conducts researches on innovative oncology and neuropsychiatric therapies.

Tags: biotechnology , poland , medicine , pharma , interview

Dr Jerzy Pieczykolan, Director of Research Laboratory in Adamed in the interview for our portal about the company’s breakthrough project – the 3-CLA. Based on previous researches and most of all their results, the product developed under the 3-CLA project is potentially a powerful weapon in cancer treatment armoury.

Dr Pieczykolan (in the middle) with his team

Biotechnologia.pl: What is 3-CLA project?

Dr Jerzy Pieczykolan: 3-CLA project is a scientific project composed of several of elements, from which the most important is the biotechnological part. In the framework of this 3-CLA project we are screening for recombinant proteins in accordance with newest trends in modern molecular oncology. The potential applications of recombinant proteins developed in Adamed are in the field of target therapies against cancers of solid tumors characteristics.

Why target therapies?

Ever since the beginning of my scientific career I was fascinated by the concept of “magic bullet” popularized by XIX century German scientist Paul Ehrlich who was famous for e.g. being father of modern chemotherapy. His idea refers to a therapeutic compound that selectively targets a disease-causing organism, e.g. cancer cells. Currently, target therapies can be analyzed with different approaches. For example, if given molecule acts as a kinase inhibitor in particular signalling cascade in the cell we can already consider it as target therapy. However, in principle we are thinking about particles that  are able to selectively recognized sick cells (e.g. cancer cells) thanks to its affinity for particular epitopes or receptors, fuse to them and therefore destroy them. That is the case with the target molecule developed in the framework of 3-CLA project, which was designed in a way allowing it to recognize only cancer cells and not affecting the healthy cells anyhow.  Our particle is a bivalent fusion protein (chimeric protein) meaning a protein created through the joining of two or more genes which originally coded for separate proteins  exhibiting different physiological functions. Using tools of genetic engineering, molecular biology and in silico modelling we succeed in development of the particle that combining three different functions finally is able to act completely new role.

Not a “magic bullet” itself, but the idea remains the same

Molecule developed by us is a fusion protein. This is a completely new trend, which was originated in the 90’s basing on extensive development of in silico methods, biotechnology and protein bioengineering. Our particle is composed of three elements, hence the name 3-CLA – triple target therapy. Its first component is aiming element, which recognizes cancer cells and distinguishes them from healthy cells. Its function is to find and to attach to specific receptors on the transformed cells. Characteristic feature of this carrier molecule is its natural way in which it can eliminate cancers cells just by itself. This is because it is actually the part of a healthy immune system. In the case of cancer, the immune system is impaired, which results in improper working of the particle. Our team utilized its natural ability to kill cancer cells. Our aim was to develop a molecule able not only to recognize epitope on the surface of transformed cell, but also able to cause toxic effect to it and hence lead it into apoptotic pathway.

Currently, together with some research centers in Poland and abroad we work on  explanation of this mechanism, which enables our particle recognition and destruction of cancer cells while not affecting healthy cells. That feature constitute for physiological phenomenon of this protein.

Is fusion protein developed in Adamed able to recognized and destroy more than one type of cancer?

Definitely. That was the direction which we wanted our research to follow. Our molecule was supposed to be considered as universal.  Note, however, that the probability of developing “golden remedy” for all the diseases is marginal. Target therapies are generally dedicated to a certain specific types of cancer. The uniqueness of our molecule depends on its ability to interact with several types of tumors.

 

End of part I

 

Interview taken by Tomasz Sznerch

Translated by Jacek Plewka

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