Application of PNC-27 Peptides in Inhibiting Cancer Cells

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Research

What Is PNC-27 Peptide?

The PNC-27 peptide is the newest addition to a series of peptides that have been discovered or created to be applied to several human health conditions. PNC-27 is an anti-cancer peptide. It consists of an HDM-2-binding domain corresponding to residues 12-26 of p53 and a transmembrane-penetrating domain with anti-cancer properties.

Discovery Of The PNC-27 Peptide

PNC proteins were first discovered in 2000 by Drs. Joseph Mich and Matthew Pincus at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York. Interestingly, scientists initially intended to combat HIV until PNC showed significant ability to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

How Does PNC-27 Peptide Work?

PNC-27 is a synthetic peptide. It is a breakthrough advancement in anti-cancer treatments. It is a membrane-active peptide that binds to the HDM-2 protein expressed in the cell membranes of the cancer cells of solid tumors. It induces the apoptosis of these cancer cells by a process called membrane lysis. Also, it causes the induction of transmembrane pore formation in the cancerous cell membrane of the cancerous cells only. Doing this induces tumor cell necrosis independent of the p53 activity in these cells.

Clinical Application Of PNC-27

PNC-27 peptide is extremely useful in targeting some very particular types of cancers. These include pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, melanoma, and additional cancer lines.

Clinical Studies On PNC-27 Peptide

A paper in the American Association for Cancer Research discussed the working of the PNC-27 peptide.

It stated that the peptide’s primary mechanism of action involves the formation of oligomeric pores in the plasma membrane of the tumor cells.
The main difference of action from other anti-cancer drugs comes here. These oligomeric pores are not formed in non-transformed or non-tumor cells. It was further noted that this selectivity of PNC-27 was due to MDM2, a targeting molecule by its mislocalization to the cancer plasma membrane.

The clinical data hints at a grand promise for the PNC-27 peptide as a future anti-cancer drug.

Effects Of PNC-27 Peptide On Cancer

In a study conducted in 2007, scientists observed that the PNC-27 peptide selectively inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in vivo. Experts also noted that the peptide-induced necrosis in multiple tumor cell lines did not affect the normal cells or cell membranes.

To further investigate these findings, the researchers took the experiments to another level and conducted them on laboratory animals, where similar results were observed two weeks after administrating the peptide.

Apart from targeting the tumor cells and causing their necrosis, the anti-cancer peptide also caused a decrease in the extent of the tumor and slowed down its progression.
Another study in 2014 showed that anti-cancer therapy with PNC-27 induced necrosis in leukemia cell lines that rely on HDM2 expression in the plasma membrane. This finding caused researchers to expand their knowledge from earlier studies that pnc-27 could diminish solid tissue tumor cells by attaching to hdm-2 proteins.

The experiment aimed to determine whether non-solid tumor cells expressed hdm-2 in their membranes, as solid tissue cells could.

Interestingly, researchers found that these non-solid tumor cells expressed HDM2 in cell membranes and that the peptide could induce necrosis the same way HDM2 binding could in solid tissue cells.

Benefits Of PNC-27 Peptide

PNC-27 peptide replicates the p53 protein by acting as a tumor inhibitor and targeting another protein named HDM-2 on cancer cell membranes, developing holes within them. These holes cause an asymmetry in the osmotic pressure, thus conducting quick implosions and successive cancer cell cessation. It has been proved that this peptide can remove a whole population of a million cells in approximately 72 hours or less. Cancer subjects on this peptide might eventually see no effect on other organism abilities such as the digestive system, respiratory system, immune system, etc. Moreover, there will be increased damage among rapidly dividing malignant cells, enhancing all other cancer treatments and medications.


Cancer is one of the diseases slowly taking over the modern world. Its deadliness is because a desirable cure is not yet found.

The only two treatment options for people suffering from this deadly disease have been chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But both these treatment options come with adverse side effects, including the destabilization of a sound immune system, hair loss, and many other systemic side effects.

In such a situation, the emergence of an anti-cancer peptide that targets only the tumor cells precisely and induces necrosis of these cells without affecting the normal cells is almost a miracle.

PNC-27 peptide serves the same purpose with its specificity of action and has given promising results in all clinical studies.

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