Reversal of Inhibitor Resistance in Skin Cancer

Technology #d-1046

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Dr. Sanjay Srivastava
His research interests include cancer biology, chemoprevention of cancers by naturally occurring nutritional agents, chemical carcinogenesis and cell signaling. Dr. Srivastava is currently funded by two R01 grants from the National Cancer Institute, NIH. He has authored more than 100 research papers and book chapters and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, Society of Toxicology and AAPS.
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Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, accounting for seventy-five percent of skin cancer related deaths. Until recently, treatment options for late stage metastatic cancer had been limited. In 2011, the FDA approved vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, for the treatment of late stage metastatic cancer that bears the BRAF oncogene. Patients treated with vemurafenib have showed tumor regression and improved survival; unfortunately, many of the patients later relapse with lethal, drug resistant melanoma, and the mechanism of this resistance remains unknown.

The invention relates to a class of drug that reverses vemurafenib resistance in metastatic melanoma. The inventors identified a protein that is integral to the mechanism of vemurafenib resistance and their data shows that this protein is highly up-regulated in vemurafenib resistant cells. Additionally, the inventors identified inhibiting drugs which act on this protein.  Experimental results confirm that the protein inhibiting drug administered in conjunction with vemurafenib significantly decreases cell survival and increases apoptosis in formerly vemurafenib resistant melanoma cells. This invention represents an advance in combination therapy that may prevent and/or reverse vemurafenib resistance in melanoma thereby increasing the efficacy of the drug and improve long term survival rates.

Market Applications: 

This technology will be used as a metastatic melanoma treatment. 

Features, Benefits, & Advantages:

• Improves drug function

• Prevents and reverses vemurafenib resistance

Development Stage: 

This technology is part of an active and ongoing research program.