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Medtech Impact on Wellness

To take down an enemy, the wisest strategy is to identify their Achilles heel, and attack it. What’s the Achilles heel of many cancers? The PLK-1 enzyme, which allows cancer cells to divide despite having chemotherapy-induced DNA damage.

Press play to discover:

  • How chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill cancer cells, and why they don’t always work
  • Approximately what percentage of all cancers rely upon the PLK-1 enzyme, and how to attack it
  • How a new enzyme inhibitor works synergistically with the standard of care chemotherapy drugs, and when it can be used in cancer treatment protocols

Chief Executive Officer of Cardiff Oncology, Mark Erlander, discusses a new drug called Onvansertib, which is designed to inhibit PLK-1, the enzyme responsible for tumor cell division. Tumor cell DNA damage caused by chemotherapy is usually so significant that the tumor cell dies. But in some cases, tumor cells overexpress the PLK-1 enzyme, which allows those tumor cells to continue dividing rather than dying, even when extensive DNA damage has been done.

When used in combination, chemotherapy drugs and Onvansertib have a synergistic affect, and could provide an effective way of treating a number of cancers.

Cardiff Oncology has three ongoing clinical studies testing this approach: one for the treatment for leukemia, one for prostate cancer, and one for colorectal cancer. And, they just received FDA approval for a study on the use of this drug in treating pancreatic tumors.

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