Some numbers on Cancer and its world-wide affects.

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for over 18 million cases and nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.1
  • The four most common cancers are lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer, with lung cancer causing the most cancer deaths. Almost a quarter of all cancer deaths are lung cancers, greater than the other three types combined.3 
  • On a positive note, the combined cancer death rate has continuously dropped in recent years.  For example, in the United States it declined by a total of 29% from 1991 to 2017.  This is a significant number, as the combined cancer death rate from 1991 to 2015 (a 26% decrease), translated to approximately 2,378,600 fewer cancer deaths than expected, if death rates had remained at their peak.5   

These sobering numbers highlight the urgent need for continued research leading to a cure. Peptides have become an important tool for researchers, as they have shown to work well due to relatively small size, high specificity, low toxicity, and can be easily modified with the addition of imaging agents or nanocarriers. The ability to increase a peptides pharmacokinetics by altering it’s C-terminus, N-terminus, and side chains, allows for modifications that reduce degradation, improve diffusion, and increase specificity.

Vivitide remains committed to supporting cancer researchers with a formidable arsenal of peptides, proteins and related products designed to assist, alleviate and reduce this devastating disease.  

  1. Le. Joncour and P. Laakkonen reviewed the use of cancer targeting, detection and drug delivery peptides.

Some of the peptide types covered in their review are listed below:

  • Those derived from natural ligands:
    • Somatostatin derivatives
      • Many solid cancers are from overexpression of the G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR), including the somatostatin receptor.
      • Octreotide is a somatostatin receptor agonist with D-amino acids and selective binding.
    • Gastrin-releasing peptide derivatives
      • Overexpression of the gastrin releasing peptide receptor seems to be associated with prostate and breast cancers, with bombesin analogues showing high affinity to the receptor.
    • Peptides that target the tumor microenvironment
      • Prosaposin regulates lysosomal tracking and stimulates expression of thrombospodin-1. A derivative of prosaposin, DWLPK, may inhibit metastatic spread.
    • Peptides that target tumor pH and temperature
      • Some peptides adopt new conformations with pH or temperature changes, resulting in improved affinity.
    • Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) ligand mimetics
      • An overexpression of MC1R is seen in many melanomas. α-MSH derivatives may be useful in melanoma imaging.
    • Those identified using combinatorial chemistry:
      • Peptides that target the tumor’s vascular system
        • Tumors affect angiogenesis and VEGF-A release.
      • Peptides that target the tumor blood supply
        • The RGD peptides, or integrins, are endothelial binding peptides that are overexpressed during angiogenesis. There are many applications for RGD peptide derivatives, including antagonist drugs, tumor imaging, and tumor uptake.
      • Peptides that target the macrophages
        • Depleting the M2 macrophages with a targeting peptide can help slow tumor growth.
      • Tissue-penetrating peptides
        • Lymph targeting peptides that also are cell-penetrable, including the cyclic iRGD peptide, H-(CRGDKGPDC)-NH2, may slow tumor metastasis.
      • Peptides that target malignant brain tumors
        • The CooP peptide, CGLSGLGVA, targets malignant brain tumors.
        • Fibronectin binding peptides may also be useful in brain tumor imaging, since fibronectin plays a role in tumor growth.


As you can see, peptides can play a major role in targeting cancer. Their small size and ease of adding modifications, make them ideal candidates for cancer therapies and screening.2

vivitde has a variety of peptides to support your research needs.
Contact us at 888-343-5974 or 
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  2. Le Joncour & P. Laakkonen, Bioorg & Molec Chemistry, 26, 2797 (2018).
  6. CA Cancer J Clin.2018 Jan;68(1):7-30. doi: 10.3322/caac.21442
  7. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2007 Sep;7(5):552-8. doi: 2174/187152007781668706
  8. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2015;15(13):1073-94. doi: 2174/1389557515666150909144606
  9. Journal of Oncology, vol. 2019, Article ID 9367845, 2019.
  10. Sci Rep 88126 (2018).
  11. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2014 Jun; 8(0): 427–437. 1002/prca.201300105
  12. Int J Mol Sci.2018 Feb; 19(2): 448. 2018; doi: 3390/ijms19020448
  13. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 30(1): 87. doi: 1186/1756-9966-30-87