Yonathan Lissanu Deribe, PhD, MD

Yonathan Lissanu Deribe, PhD, MD

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Research Project:
Using New Drug Development Technology to Target SMARCA4 Lung Cancer

Grant Awarded:

  • Innovation Award

Research Topics:

  • biomarkers
  • combination therapies experimental therapeutics

Research Disease:

  • lung cancer

Despite recent advances, the majority of patients with lung cancer lack effective therapeutic options. There is a dire need for additional treatment approaches. DNA sequencing studies have identified frequent mutations in a gene known as SMARCA4 in 15% of advanced lung cancers. We have recently identified a gene named SMARCA2 that is required for growth of SMARCA4 mutant lung cancer. However, identifying selective inhibitors of SMARCA2 has been challenging. We have now developed novel SMARCA2 degrading small molecules based on a new drug-development technology called proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC). We demonstrated that a compound called YD23 potently and selectively induces degradation of SMARCA2. We further showed that YD23 selectively inhibits growth of SMARCA4 mutant lung cancer cells. Our findings will be used to guide future development of YD23 in patients with SMARCA4 mutant lung cancer.

Lung cancers harboring the SMARCA4 mutation have a poor prognosis and lack effective treatment options, underscoring the urgent need to discover and develop novel therapeutic approaches. To address this, we have developed novel SMARCA2-degrading small molecules based on the proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology. We have identified a tolerable dose of SMARCA2 PROTAC for efficacy studies in mice. Further, we showed that SMARCA2 PROTACs actively induced degradation of SMARCA2 in mice, highlighting their potential for future clinical translation. During the second year of the award, we intend to perform anti-tumor efficacy studies in mice to determine the utility of these compounds as potential therapeutics.

Page last updated: September 12, 2023

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