Discovery of how Kancera’s PFKFB3 inhibitor acts against cancer published in a reputable scientific journal


Kancera AB today announced that the article entitled “Targeting PFKFB3 radiosensitizes cancer cells and suppresses homologous recombination” has been published by researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Kancera AB in the journal Nature Communications1. The article documents the molecular mechanisms that give the small molecule KAN0438757 a potent anti-tumor effect in preclinical models.

In the current study, researchers discovered that the enzyme PFKFB3 helps cancer cells resist radiation therapy. The discovery shows that PFKFB3 binds to the cancer cell’s damaged DNA (genome) where the enzyme contributes to a repair that leads to continued growth. This new knowledge thus supports the fact that a drug that blocks PFKFB3 could change a resistant cancer to one that is sensitive to radiation therapy.

This hypothesis was tested by evaluating Kanceras PFKFB3 inhibitor KAN0438757 against cancer cells in combination with radiation. The researchers could show in the laboratory that the cancer cells’ ability to repair their genetic material and to survive was prevented by this combination, while healthy cells were not affected by KAN0438757.

“It is previously known that the amount of PFKFB3 is much higher in cancer cells than in healthy cells. But the discovery that PFKFB3 regulates the repair of the genome in radiation therapy is groundbreaking and very exciting. Half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy at some point during their cancer treatment. “Says Nina Gustafsson, Associate Professor and Team Leader in Translational Medicine at the Department of Oncology Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, who led the study together with Professor Thomas Helleday at the same institution.

“Since normal healthy cells are not dependent on PFKFB3 for a functioning DNA repair, it is possible that the combination of PFKFB3 inhibitors and radiation can lead to an effective and well tolerated treatment against certain resistant tumors. It is therefore gratifying to note that the discovery that supports PFKFB3 as an important target for new treatments for hard-to-treat cancer is now broadcasted through a reputable scientific journal,” says Thomas Olin, CEO of Kancera AB.

The study was led by researchers at Kancera AB and Karolinska Institutet in connection with SciLifeLab and in collaboration with researchers from Stockholm University, University of Sheffield, Sprint Bioscience AB, SARomics Biostructures AB, Roma Tre University, Emory University School of Medicine, and others. The research has been funded by Kancera, Swedish Society for Medical Research, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Appropriation No. 722729, which is part of the EU Horizon 2020 program, as well as Torsten Söderberg and Ragnar Söderberg Foundation and others.

(1) The article can be found at:

About the PFKFB3 project
The project aims at developing inhibitors of the enzyme PFKFB3 in order to prevent cancer cells’ energy metabolism and thus render them sensitive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Kancera AB, together with Professor Thomas Helleday and his research team at Karolinska Institutet, have made a surprising discovery that shows how the company’s PFKFB3 inhibitor enters the nucleus of the cancer cell and enhances the effect of a recently given radiation dose.

About Kancera AB (publ)
Kancera develops the basis for new therapeutics, starting with new treatment concepts and ending with the sale of a drug candidate to international pharmaceutical companies. Kancera is currently developing drugs for the treatment of leukemia and solid tumors, by regulating the immune system, blocking survival signals in the cancer cell and addressing cancer metabolism. Kancera’s operations are based in the Karolinska Institute Science Park in Stockholm and the company employs around 20 people. Kancera shares are traded on NASDAQ First North and the number of shareholders was more than 7500 as of August 17th, 2018. FNCA is Kancera’s Certified Adviser. MD PhD Charlotte Edenius, MD PhD Anders Gabrielsen, Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin samt Professor Håkan Mellstedt are board members and Kancera’s scientific advisers.

For further information, contact:
Thomas Olin, CEO

: +46-(0)735-20 40 01

Kancera AB (publ)
Karolinska Institutet Science Park
Banvaktsvägen 22
SE 171 48 Solna

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