Current cancer therapeutics consist mostly of DNA damaging agents, nucleotide analogs, topoisomerase inhibitors, microtubule poisons, and targeted agents such as kinase inhibitors. Frequently, mono-therapy with these agents does not provide sufficient benefit or patients may develop resistance over time, therefore combination regimens are needed. SuviCa’s compounds target an under-exploited cellular mechanism that is critical for cancer re-growth after treatment with these standard cancer therapies, providing opportunities for new treatment combinations.
Developed through the work of its scientific founder, SuviCa applies a screening technology that uses whole animals to identify compounds that block re-growth after treatment with standard cancer therapies. SuviCa believes that this screen can identify more drug-like leads from the onset, which can then be further developed into drugs with the potential to improve current cancer therapy. Using the screen, SuviCa has identified a number of highly active chemical scaffolds. A number of these scaffolds target protein synthesis, a relatively under-explored mechanism in cancer drug development.
Cancer and the Ribosome. There are several reasons to target protein synthesis in cancer:
- Differences in cancer cells – a number of ribosomal components and translation factors are expressed at increased levels in cancer cells compared to normal cells
- Important oncogenic pathways control translation – oncogenic Myc and the PI-3 kinase/mTOR pathway, an important pathway in cancer, positively regulate the translation machinery,
- Unique opportunities – understanding the alterations in translational control provides unique opportunities for improving therapeutic intervention in human cancer.
SuviCa is taking advantage of this under-utilized area to develop drugs to target solid tumors.