An estimated 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer. Cancer Center at Illinois researchers are leading the science behind a new global licensing agreement between Bayer AG and Systems Oncology for a new breast cancer compound called ERSO. Developed by the laboratories of Paul Hergenrother, chemistry professor, and David Shapiro, biochemistry professor, ERSO has been shown to target breast cancer cells that express the estrogen receptor.
Their research was the first to show that the compound can effectively target and kill certain cancer cells, especially ER+ breast cancer cells. According to Hergenrother, these breast cancer cells are very sensitive to ERSO, which kills the cells rapidly.
“To have a major company, like Bayer, decide to license ERSO speaks volumes about the societal impact Illinois research can have,” said Hergenrother, who is also the deputy director of the Cancer Center at Illinois.