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KDDF-201110-12 Development of Innovative Drugs for Breast Cancer(Oncology, Chemical) [01.04.2013]


Development and Market Objectives

We previously identified the membrane protein DS-20, which plays a key role in the growth of breast cancer and infiltrative induction, as a novel target for breast cancer. The final goal of this research is to derive a DS-20 inhibitor candidate for the development of innovative breast cancer treatment. We also aim to enter the pre-clinical stage by deriving DS-20 inhibitor candidate material, before entering the clinical stage.
1) Chemical library screening for DS-20 inhibitors
2) Development of leading material and optimization
3) Determination of pharmacology and pharmacodynamics parameters
4) Development of pre-clinical candidate material.


Unmet Medical Need & Target Patients

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Korea. (Data: Central Cancer Registration Office of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family).
Recently, the Korea Breast Cancer Academy reported that 1 in 25 Korean women will experience breast cancer during their lifetime, a 3.5-fold increase from 1996 to 2008. This increase in the incidence of breast cancer is the highest among the OECD countries at 91%  (Based on research by the Korea Breast Cancer Academy in 2011).
When examining the risk of breast cancer by age, more than half of patients are under 40 (55.7%), showing that the age of breast cancer patients in Korea is very young compared with patients in the USA and Europe (Based on research by the Korea Breast Cancer Academy in 2008).
Breast cancer also exhibits a high reccurrence rate, and no treatments exist for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC; ER, PR, Her-2 negative) patients.

Current status of breast cancer treatment
The most basic breast cancer treatment is surgery, and this is applied to patients who do not exhibit metastasis in other organs. For breast cancer, the effects of adjuvant therapy after operation are generally good, and these therapies can include chemotherapy, radiation treatment, antihormone therapy and molecular target inhibition. The use of these adjuvant therapies is decided based on the stage of cancer, relevance of receptor status and the type of operation (source: Seoul University Hospital).
Problem and requirements for current breast cancer treatment: Insufficient options for TNBC patients
Among breast cancer patients, 75% are in the ER-positive patient group, 20-25% are in the HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2)-positive patient group, and 10-17% are in the triple negative patient group.
The majority of current breast cancer treatments target ER and HER2. These include herceptin, an antibody, and tamoxifen, antihormone therapy. Tamoxifen obstructs the estrogen receptor while herceptin obstructs overexpressed HER2 in breast cancer.
-> However, no distinctive treatment for TNBC patients exists
- Need to develop targeted therapies that only attack cancer cells: Anticancer drugs target constantly dividing cancer cells, causing side effects in other organs that also require cell proliferation in order to function. Targeted therapy protects normal cells, selectively controlling specific target factors in cancer cells. Current targeted treatments include treatment for chronic myelocytic leukemia (Gleevec) which targets BCRABL and breast cancer treatment (Herceptin) that targets HER2, as well as a new vessel creation inhibitor (Avastin) that targets VEGF. However these are still insufficient for many patients.
-> As the biggest cause of death for cancer patients is metastasis, the development of a targeted treatment for the core factors that induce metastasis is needed, as well as the development of targeted molecules for the treatment for TNBC.



We are currently conducting 1st hit through 1st screening, based on the chemical library provided by Dong-a Pharmaceutical Company and we are also processing in vitro biological assays for identified 1st hits.
We have produced a mutant to induce the core domain that contributes to a breast cancer transformation mechanism, based on structural research of DS-20.
We are performing virtual screening by constructing the DS-20 homology structure, based on similar proteins.


Intellectual Property

- Subject of invention: Anticancer composition.
- Name of inventors: Aree Moon, Myoung Ok Kim, Jin Sun Hwang.
- Contents of invention: This invention is for an anticancer compound including DS-20, which is a protein involved in the lower signal passing course of the Ras protein and inhibitors of the coding gene, useful for the prevention and treatment of cancer. 


Competitive Advantages

Candidate materials targeting DS-20 discovered through leading research will represent a new mechanism of breast cancer control. This creates the potential for an original anticancer drug to be developed.
There is room to apply and expand our research results for other kinds of cancer in addition to breast cancer.
Through the experience of developing original anticancer candidate material, our team will be better able to develop new drugs in future.
Our research team will contribute to the development of innovative breast cancer treatments by deriving successful DS-20 inhibitor candidate material, with the goal of entering into the pre-clinical phase.
This research will proceed with the close cooperation of Dong-A Pharmaceutical Company, a leading company in Korea’s pharmaceutical industry, and a company that has successfully developed novel medicines in the past.


Breast cancer

Research Period

Apr.01 , 2012 ~ Oct.31 , 2013


Duksung Woman’s University

Developmental Stage

Lead Generation

Additional Information

In collaboration with a local company

Contact Information

Address Company Name: Duksung Woman's University
WebSite Homepage: Contact Person: You Rim Jeon, Yu Jin Cha
E-mail:, Contact: +82-2-901-8355/8389

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