The study, which was conducted in collaboration with Professor Mark Hulett’s laboratory from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, demonstrated the ability of Wintermute's fatty acid formulation, GS-1, to induce apoptosis in cancer cells.
Based on previous research that observed GS-1's ability to decrease cancer cell viability in vitro, the two-year study, which received funding from an Australian CRC-P grant, delved further into the anticancer properties of GS-1 and the way in which it functions.
It was discovered that undecylenic acid, the fatty acid constituent of GS-1, which was previously recognized for its antifungal characteristics, is responsible for its anticancer effects.
The study found that GS-1 had robust anticancer activity, displaying toxicity against several types of cancer cell lines.
With the support of Associate Professor Ivan Poon, an expert in apoptosis, the study found that GS-1 induced biochemical and mechanical hallmarks of cell death characteristic of apoptosis. Further to this, microscopy experiments showed that undecylenic acid entered cancer cells to induce cell death from the inside (see the video below).
Video: Human leukemia cells treated with GS-1 undergo apoptosis. Once cells are treated with GS-1, lipid levels inside the cell (green) increase as the lipid component of GS-1, undecylenic acid, enters the cells. As the cells die, they take up a cell death dye in the media (red) and break up into smaller fragments, a step characteristic of apoptosis.
Wintermute's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Alyce Mayfosh, emphasized the importance of academic collaboration in supporting Wintermute’s robust research programs. "These microscopy experiments really clearly indicated GS-1 was inducing apoptosis. The expertise and facilities we have access to through our academic collaborations are invaluable in understanding how our formulations work in certain disease settings like cancer," she said.
While Wintermute currently has no immediate plans to develop GS-1 as a cancer therapeutic, the study demonstrates the platform's potential for a range of applications beyond antimicrobial activity. The study also investigated another formulation from the Wintermute library, GS-9, which also demonstrated anticancer activity and is currently under further investigation.