Cancer Research News

Summary of Dr. Al Copland’s Cancer Research and Goals

Dr. John “Al” Copland and his lab colleagues have discovered a cancer gene that is overexpressed in aggressive cancers and have developed a therapy against this gene. They urgently need funding to further develop this treatment for which clinical trials are planned.

·       Two publications of the expression of this gene, SCD1 (Stearoyl CoA Desaturase 1), and the targeting therapy against SCD1 are described in kidney cancer and thyroid cancer.

·       Unpublished data from Al’s lab demonstrates that blocking SCD1 also inhibits tumor growth in breast, prostate, colon, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, liver and bladder cancers as well as melanoma.

·       His lab has also discovered that a SCD1 inhibitor when combined with FDA approved drugs leads to antitumor synergy. The combination of two drugs kill cancer cells better which should lead to increased survival rates of cancer patients.

·       Al’s lab has discovered four novel SCD1 inhibitors. A lead SCD1 inhibitor is being developed with the expectation of initiating a clinical trial first against metastatic kidney cancer. With success, they will then move to other cancers, especially breast, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Please see steps below for initial stages in development of a novel treatment targeting SCD1:

Goals – Stage 1

1.     Synthesize 10 grams of our lead SCD1 inhibitor

2.     Test the half-life of SCD1 inhibitor in blood (guides in vivo dose)

3.     In vivo testing of SCD1 inhibitor for antitumor activity

4.     In vivo testing of SCD1 plus temsirolimus (FDA approved drug)

5.     Test SCD1 inhibitor plus FDA approved drug in other cancers, e.g. breast, prostate, colon, ovarian, lung, pancreatic and bladder cancer and melanoma.

Completion of goals 1 – 4 will lead to publication of a manuscript describing our new SCD1 inhibitors alone or in combination with FDA approved temsirolimus for treatment of metastatic kidney cancer. These steps are necessary to move forward to clinical trial where we expect to use these two drugs in combination for the treatment of patients diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer.

For Goal 5, Al’s lab will continue testing the lead SCD1 inhibitor in combination with other FDA approved drugs for the treatment of breast, prostate, colon, ovarian, lung, pancreatic and bladder cancer and melanoma.

Stage 2 of the project will include toxicology studies that include necessary data for presentation to the FDA to apply for investigation of new drug (IND). Once IND is issued, the lab will be in position to initiate a clinical trial. Mayo Clinic is poised to initiate the clinical trial.

May 2015

Research News


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