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Autophagy Modulators For Use in Treating Cancer

Summary
Investigators from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have identified five autophagy-inhibiting compounds (WX8 family) through a high-throughput screening. The NICHD seeks licensees and/or co-development partners for methods to treat cancer by administering these autophagy-inhibiting compounds.
NIH Reference Number
E-003-2018
Product Type
Keywords
  • Inhibition of Autophagy, WX8, BRAF Mutation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NICHD, Depamphilis
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Contact
Description of Technology

Cancer cells can upregulate autophagy – cell destruction – as a response to chemotherapy. Investigators in Dr. Melvin DePamphilis’ laboratory at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have shown that compounds identified by screening a library of compounds blocks autophagy in some cancer cells (e.g., melanoma) but are not toxic to normal cells. Cancer cells with mutations in the BRAF oncogene are especially dependent on autophagy. Treatment of cancer cells with the BRAF mutation can increase the efficacy of chemotherapy. Proof of concept studies in xenograft mice showed reduction of melanoma tumor size upon treatment with WX8, a lead compound described in the patent application cited below. The technology is available for licensing and/or co-development under a collaborative research agreement.  

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Cancer therapeutic
  • Administration of the compounds that inhibit autophagy can be used to sensitize cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents
Competitive Advantages
  • The compounds inhibiting autophagy are selective for cancer cells and are not toxic to normal cells 
Inventor(s)

Melvin DePamphilis (NICHD), Gaurav Sharma (NICHD), Juan Marugan (NCATS), Marc Ferrer-Alegre (NICHD), Ajit Roy (NICHD)

Development Stage
Publications

Sharma et al. A family of PIKFYVE inhibitors with therapeutic potential against autophagy-dependent cancer cells disrupt multiple events in lysosome homeostasis.    [PMID 30806145]

Patent Status
  • PCT: PCT Application Number PCT/US2018/62866 , Filed 11 Nov 2018
Therapeutic Area
Updated
Monday, September 23, 2019