L-asparaginase, discovered in 1953 by Kidd is an effective inhibitor of tumor growth, used in chemotherapy sessions in order to exhaust the asparagine (Asn) and glutamine (Gln) stock, only needed for tumor cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia (LLA). Despite being an efficient antileukemic, the high cost of production of L-asparaginase and the low demand of the international market for the native enzyme from Escherichia coli resulted in the interruption of their trade in the Brazilian market, which is dependent on imports. This shortage led us to generate technical knowledge to start production of this biopharmaceutical drug in the national territory; for that we propose to study different extracellular signaling sequences in a recombinant L-asparaginase in Pichia pastoris. Furthermore, serious immunogenic effects of treatment with the E. coli enzyme has led us to seek other sources of L-asparaginase. So we chose the L-asparaginase II enzyme of S. cerevisiae with antileukemic potential and currently studied in our laboratory.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: