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Melanie Blevins, Ph.D.

Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2016-2017)

University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus
Inhibiting the Formation of a Protein Complex to Treat Lung Cancer
Senior Research Training Fellowship
Funded by LUNG FORCE

CtBP1 is often overexpressed (meaning there are too many CtBP1 proteins produced) in certain types of cancer, including lung cancer. The CtBP1 protein interacts with many other proteins to form the CtBP1 complex, directing cellular growth and inhibiting cell death during normal organ development. When overexpressed in adult tissue, CtBP1 promotes cancer cell survival, making it an ideal drug target that could inhibit tumor growth and spread with limited side effects. We have developed molecules called peptides that can inhibit the formation of the CtBP1 complex in cell culture. We hope to further optimize our peptides to improve their effectiveness and eventually develop them into drugs for lung cancer therapy.

Update: We found a specific peptide that could inhibit the CtBP1 protein. However, the stability of the peptide is low in cells. We will spend the majority of our focus over the next year on ways to increase peptide stability. We will also evaluate ways to increase the cellular potency of peptides in lung cancer.

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