R1-adrenoreceptor antagonists that promote apoptosis in cancer cells.

The Need

The Akt pathway is one of the most commonly hyper-activated pathways in human cancers (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821994/). Once activated, the Akt protein works to maintain and regulate the survival and proliferation of the cell. Due to these actions, a cancerous cell that needs to be eliminated from the body will instead survive and quickly proliferate. This is one of the reasons why cancer is so difficult to eliminate from the body and is such a devastating disease. In 2015, there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer in the United States and more than 580,000 deaths due to cancer (cancer.org). Current treatment of cancer is a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and biological therapy which are lacking in efficacy and can result in many harmful side effects for the patient (cancer.gov). To improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy, a novel drug that allows for the apoptosis of cancerous cells needs to be developed.

The Market

  • This technology can be used to treat many different types of cancer including but not limited to: prostate, breast, and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • The overall market for cancer therapeutics stood at about $84.3 billion in 2014 (globenewswire.com).
  • Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in men. The global prostate cancer therapeutics market was valued at $2,713 million in 2010 and it is expected to reach $6,457 million, by 2020 (marketsandmarkets.com).
  • The breast cancer therapeutics market in the eight major markets (US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Canada) was worth $9.2 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow to $13.1 billion by 2020 (marketwatch.com).
  • Globally, the Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) drug market will increase from USD 4.3 billion in 2009 to USD 6.9 billion in 2019 (transparency market research).

The Technology

The Ohio State University researchers, led by Dr. Ching-Shih Chen, developed a new class of therapeutic agents that have been structurally modified from the R1-adrenoreceptor antagonist, doxazosin, to improve the outcomes of cancer treatment. These therapeutic agents function by inhibiting the activation of the intracellular protein, Akt. This protein plays a vital role in cell survival and proliferation, thus its inhibition results in cell death. Dr. Chen’s agents are being developed into a new line of cancer therapeutic drugs that induce apoptosis with improved efficiency in mutated cancer cells.

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