This technology includes the use of pyridines for anticancer treatment. A common feature of cancer cells is a high level of reactive oxygen species with a concomitant increase of two antioxidative systems to combat the toxicity: the glutathione and thioredoxin systems. Inhibiting either, or both, of these systems is a promising avenue to target cancer cells. Thioredoxin Reductase 1 (Trxr1) is an important selenoprotein in the thioredoxin antioxidative system which has been implicated as a potential anti-cancer target. The inventors have found that pyridinyl sulphone compounds may achieve highly selective inhibition of cytosolic thioredoxin reductase (Trxr1) by strongly-binding (in some cases, effectively irreversibly) without causing significant inhibition of glutathione reductase, an important protein in the gluthathione antioxidative system.
In principle, cancer cells may be uniquely sensitive to inhibition of Thioredoxin Reductase 1 (Trxr1) by compounds like pyridines. Targeting Trxr1 has the potential of causing fewer side effects than other anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.