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Peptides to selectively combat cancer

6 months
Approved budget:
Dr Alan Cameron
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Māori Health Summer Studentship
Lay summary
Peptide therapeutics is a growing field. A short peptide has potential as an anti-cancer agent through inhibiting DNA repair processes. However, more advanced targeting to cancer cells is desired for chemotherapeutics. Short peptide sequences such as RGD can be used as targeting molecules as they bind to cell surface receptors that may be overexpressed by certain cancer cell lines. Other peptide sequences, known as nuclear localisation signals, may further enhance potency and selectivity. By synthesising branch peptides, incorporating all three of these features it may be possible to achieve highly selective and potent anti-cancer treatment. The targeting sequence RGD can be used to target human oral squamous carcinoma (HSC-3) cell lines that over express an RGD binding integrin. Oral cancer is highly related to smoking, a habit that is unfortunately prevalent in Maori. Peptides will be tested against HSC-3 cells to evaluate potential in Maori health.