© 2019 by Arctic Pharma AS.

Although there has been a vast amount of research carried out within the field, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death globally with 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018.[1] The World Health Organization estimates that 'One in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in 8 men and one in 11 women die from the disease.' There is evidently a huge need for new treatment options for tackling this serious and deadly disease.

Depending on the cancer type, there can be few treatment options available. In particular, therapies for advanced cancers are limited, harsh and have severe side effects. 

Treatment options for cancer broadly fall into two categories: those that function locally, or those that act systemically. Surgery can relieve the mass effect of the tumour, however it can leave some cells behind that can result in tumour regrowth and/or metastasis (cancer spreading). Radiation is another frequent form of treatment, which can result in the death of a large proportion of cells. However, it can be ineffective in some areas, it may leave some cells resulting in tumour regrowth and/or metastasis, and it is also particularly inconvenient for the patient.

Probably the most well-known form of systemic treatment is chemotherapy. This kills cancer cells throughout the body. so can potentially tackle the issue of metastasis. However, chemotherapies work on cells which are active and growing, therefore they can also attack other cells within the body, which leads to side effects. Hormone therapy is another form of treatment that acts systemically. The approach is to deprive cancer cells from getting the hormones they require to grow. This treatment can work well for those patients with cancer cells that have the correct receptors to recognise the treatment, otherwise it is ineffective.

An area that has been generating much interest in recent years is targeted therapies, including PARP inhibitors, PI3K inhibitors and immunotherapy. The common aim of all of these approaches is to selectively target cancer cells throughout the body whilst not affecting healthy cells, therefore avoiding side effects. Our approach falls into this arena: by targeting the Warburg effect we aim to develop a side effect free treatment for aggressive glycolytic cancers, which tend to have high relapse rates, and consequently deadly outcomes.

[1] World Health Organization Press Release: https://www.who.int/cancer/PRGlobocanFinal.pdf