Onconase, also known as Ranpirnase and P-30 protein, is derived from the eggs and early embryonic stem cells of the northern leopard frog. It is one of the newer and currently more promising of chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of cancer.
Onconase is an enzyme that works in conjunction with others in order to breakdown RNA, preventing the reproduction process in cancer cells. Current studies show that Onconase can be used to kill mesothelioma cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. This is due to the fact that it is designed to attach itself to specific receptors on cancer cells which are not found in normal cells.
One of the advantages of onconase is that less is needed in order to achieve results in the treatment of cancers, like mesothelioma.
Currently, onconase is undergoing clinical trials. In January 2009, the FDA recommended an additional clinical trial using the drug to treat patients who have earlier undergone chemotherapy and had a recurrence of the cancer.Sources
Rodrigues, Montserrat et. al. "Intracellular Pathway of Onconase That Enables its Delivery to the Fytosol." Journal of Cell Science, vol. 120 (2007)
PR Newswire, "Alfacell Provides ONCONASE(R) NDA Submission Update" 27 Jan 2009