Scientists at the State Research Institute of Ultra-Pure Substances in St. Petersburg are completing preclinical trials for what they refer to as “heat shock protein,” a brand new drug candidate to treat malignant tumors, Izvestia reported.
The biotechnologists are said to have recruited help from Russian members of International Space Station crews to get their molecule genetically engineered in weightlessness.
According to Prof. Andrei Simbirtsev, PhD, a Russian academician and the deputy director of the Institute for research activity, the novel molecule can be synthesized by any cell in the human body in response to various kinds of stress impact.
The “wonder-molecule” has been known to researchers for years, Prof. Simbirtsev pointed out. However, scientists used to believe that the role of protein in this respect is limited to cell protection against damage. Research later helped find out that the substance possesses a unique property; the scientists realized that the protein “assists” a cell in exposing its tumor antigens to the immune system, thus enhancing counter-tumor immune response.
The genetically engineered substance, which is expected to show equal effectiveness at all stages of all types of cancer, will hit the market in three or four years, the source said.