Scientists at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have recently invented a way to inhibit the interaction between scaffold proteins, which help relay messages within cells, and a type of enzyme called kinases.
Pharmaceutical compositions that apply this method could be used to treat cancer. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.
Cancer is a worldwide epidemic claiming over 7.6 million lives per year and is the leading cause of death in developed countries. At its core, cancer is a disease that progresses because tumor cells co-opt signaling pathways that allow them to proliferate, survive, and invade other tissues.
Targeting these pathways in order to regulate these processes is one approach to developing cancer therapeutics.
VA researchers have created a way to block the interaction between scaffold proteins and kinases in order to inhibit the activity of a common pathway called RAS. About a third of all human cancers are driven by mutations in RAS genes, which make cells grow uncontrollably.
An agent that uses this method, called a scaffold-kinase interaction blockade (SKIB), would inhibit hyperactive or constantly active intracellular signaling in a cell that leads to this type of behavior. The goal of such a treatment would be to suppress tumor growth and metastasis, as well as to reduce tumor size and number.
- Used to suppress cancer cell proliferation and metastasis by inhibiting the interaction between scaffold proteins and kinases
- Could be applied to cell cultures for research purposes, to screen for candidate agents that may be useful in treating cancer, or to treat cancer in a patient
- Can be applied in the context of treating or preventing a wide variety of cancers, including cancers that can metastasize such as carcinomas and sarcomas
- May be used in conjunction with additional standard anti-cancer therapeutics, including immunotherapy, chemotherapeutic agents, and surgery
- Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S. Patent 9,155,774 from the VA
- License fees paid to the VA are negotiable
- Businesses that license the technology may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors
- Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology
- TechLink guides businesses through evaluation and licensing; services provided at no cost
- VA ID: 11-062