Johns Hopkins University
Therapy Blocks Protein Involved in Lung Cancer Growth
To address the urgent need for more effective lung cancer treatments, we are developing an innovative therapy called Spiegelmers. Spiegel means "mirror" and Spiegelmers are small molecules that bind as "mirror images" to critical regions of a protein to disrupt its function. Our Spiegelmers target a key regulator protein, called HMGA1, which is required by lung cancer cells to grow, invade and spread to distant sites. Spiegelmers that block other proteins have already been shown to be safe and effective in patients with other types of cancer. We expect to rapidly translate our results to the clinic to improve therapy for lung cancer patients.
Update: In our preliminary results, we found that blocking expression of HMGA1 halts cancer cell growth in most cancer cells tested. The anti-HMGA1 Spiegelmer, however, was not effectively delivered to the majority of the cancer cells. We are therefore testing different delivery approaches for HMGA1 inhibitors. In addition, we are testing a new Spiegelmer (NOX-A12) to block a related pathway in lung cancer. This Spiegelmer also enhances immune cell infiltration into tumors, which we expect to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients. We will continue to test our new Spiegelmer and other delivery approaches to target HMGA1 in lung cancer cells for lung cancer.