Satake’s research was published Sept. 9 in the British Journal of Haematology.
“We identified a novel molecular target that is important for the growth of precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children,” Satake said. “We developed a unique treatment approach using a drug that blocks the target molecule and kills leukemia cells, a nanoparticle vehicle that carries the drug, and an antibody driver that delivers the nanocomplexes (drug-loaded nanoparticles) to leukemia cells.
“We showed great efficacy of these new drug nanocomplexes on a cell line and on primary leukemia samples,” she added. “We also demonstrated that they had minimal toxicities on normal blood cells.”
Adding to the impact of the research, Satake and her colleagues found that the drug nanocomplexes worked very well when combined with conventional chemotherapy drugs vincristine and doxorubicin. This means that the new drug complexes can replace some of the toxic chemotherapy drugs currently used to treat patients.
Based on these results, the researchers conducted additional work leading to development of another drug, which is more suitable for clinical use. They plan to file a patent on the drug and then work toward clinical trials. Satake said the approach could apply to many other cancers, including adult cancers.
Funding for Satake’s research came from The Hartwell Foundation and the National
Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, grant no. UL1 TR000002.
Other study authors included Connie Duong, Cathy Chen, Gustavo A. Barisone, Elva Diaz, Joseph Tuscano, David M. Rocke, Jan Nolta and Nitin Nitin, all of UC Davis.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.