A potential cancer treatment that suppresses cancer cells’ glucose uptake.

The Need

Chemotherapy is a largely indiscriminate attacker, killing both malignant and nonmalignant cells alike. Among the many ways cancer cells differ from their nonmalignant counterparts is their greater need for glucose, which cancer cells metabolize to satisfy energy needs and produce building blocks to support rapid proliferation. Thus, exploiting cancer cells’ glucose dependence has emerged as an effective strategy for treating cancer.The suppression of glucose uptake in cancer cells leads to the increase in proteasomal degradation of effectors of survival and proliferation signaling. Thus, inhibitors of glucose transporters have translational potential to be developed into novel chemotherapeutic agents for cancer.

The Market

Dr. Chen’s anticancer agents have two major applications:

  • Cancer Treatment & Prevention: $110 billion / 19% CAGR
    • Invention-specific application: enhanced chemotherapy treatment
  • Tools to investigate the signaling pathways that mediate cancer cell death in response to energy restriction

Dr. Chen’s compounds exhibited potent anticancer activity against a number of difference cancer cell types, such as:

  • Androgen-sensitive and -insensitive prostate cancer cells
    • $42 billion segment / 26% CAGR
  • Breast cancer cells
    • $7 billion segment / 24% CAGR
  • Drug-resistant pancreatic cancer cells
    • $100 million segment / 4% CAGR

The Technology

The Ohio State University researchers, led by Dr. Ching-Shih Chen, developed and synthesized a novel class of anticancer agents that suppress the ability of cancer cells to take in glucose, resulting in cellular death in the cancer cells. These agents take advantage of the differences between non-malignant and cancer cells, as cancer cells have a greater need for glucose, which they use to satisfy their need to support their high rate of proliferation.Having demonstrated potent anticancer effects while causing little to no toxicity in nonmalignant cells, Dr. Chen’s compounds exploit that dependence. The agents exhibited anticancer activity against androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells, breast cancer cells, and pancreatic cancer cells. Currently, this class of glucose transporter inhibitors is in early preclinical evaluations with initial in vivo evaluations of tumor-suppressive activities in human xenograft tumor models beginning.

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