Cancer cells need a continuous supply of nutrients to maintain their abnormal growth and rapid division. Recent advances in cancer biology revealed that not only glucose but also amino acids are essential to support the high metabolic demands of tumor.

The first Cancer Metabolism product candidate developed by Erytech is eryaspase, which deprives leukemic cells from asparagine.

Indeed most of leukemic cells, such as lymphoblasts as well as certain solid cancer cell lines, are dependent on asparagine and use this amino acid as nutrient for their protein synthesis. Asparagine depletion in lymphoblast environment lead to the inhibition of cancer cell protein biosynthesis, subsequently, DNA and RNA synthesis and induces its death.

Other amino acids such as arginine and methionine have been shown to be involved in a number of biosynthetic pathways that significantly influence carcinogenesis and tumor biology. On the same rationale, Erytech develops two other Cancer Metabolism product candidates dealing with arginine or methionine deprivation as targeted new therapy approaches.