Griffin Securities (“Griffin”), a research-driven investment banking firm, has released an industry report on the subject of targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs). The stem cell hypothesis offers a rational approach to preventing, diagnosing, and treating malignant growth. Covered in the report are five classes of drugs nearing the Phase II clinical trial that provides human proof-of concept data, a crucial stage of development: Notch signaling, PI3k/akt pathway, immunotherapeutics, molecular chaperons, and hedgehog signaling.See also: Firms Seek to Prove Cancer Stem Cell Hypothesis by Keith A Markey (scientific director at Griffin Securities), Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Oct 15, 2009 (Vol 29, No 18).
Comments: Information can be found online about some of the drugs mentioned in the article by Keith A Markey. Two examples:
- Notch signaling: OMP-21M18
A humanized monoclonal antibody directed against the N-terminal epitope of Notch ligand DLL4 (delta-like 4) with potential antineoplastic activity. Anti-DLL4 monoclonal antibody OMP-21M18 binds to the membrane-binding portion of DLL4 and prevents its interaction with Notch-1 and Notch-4 receptors, thereby inhibiting Notch-mediated signaling and gene transcription, which may impede tumor angiogenesis. Activation of Notch receptors by DLL4 stimulates proteolytic cleavage of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD); after cleavage, NICD is translocated into the nucleus and mediates the transcriptional regulation of a variety of genes involved in vascular development. The expression of DLL4 is highly restricted to the vascular endothelium.One Phase 1 trial of OMP-21M18 [ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00744562].
- Hedgehog signaling: IPI-926
An orally bioavailable, cyclopamine-derived inhibitor of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway with potential antineoplastic activity. Specifically, Hedgehog pathway inhibitor IPI-926 binds to and inhibits the cell membrane-spanning G-protein coupled receptor SMO, which may result in the suppression of Hh pathway signaling and a decrease in tumor cell proliferation and survival. SMO is activated upon binding of Hh ligand to the cell surface receptor Patched (PTCH); inappropriate activation of Hh signaling and uncontrolled cellular proliferation may be associated with SMO mutations. The Hh signaling pathway plays an important role in proliferation of neuronal precursor cells in the developing cerebellum and other tissues.One Phase 1 trial of IPI-926 [ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00761696].