Focus Area: Small Molecule Inhibitors

Alterations in signaling pathways involved in DNA repair and apoptosis might contribute to the development of cancer and also affect the ability of tumor cells to be killed by chemotherapeutic approaches. Investigators in the Developmental Therapeutics Program are researching how alterations in these pathways might contribute to chemotherapy resistance.

Researchers are also developing and evaluating inhibitors of these signaling pathways. In some cases, these inhibitors seem to trigger apoptosis and reverse the cancer phenotype of cells with altered pathways. In other cases, the inhibitors themselves do not directly kill cancer cells but sensitize those cells to killing by existing chemotherapeutic agents.

The Developmental Therapeutics Program is also investigating the action of a number of agents that exhibit anti-cancer activity in model systems through mechanisms that are still not completely understood. These studies often provide insight into new, previously unsuspected alterations in cancer cells and improved understanding of the action of the agents under investigation.

Here are specific research areas involving small molecule inhibitors:

Research area Laboratories Faculty
Assessing the activity of a metabolically activated form of tamoxifen  
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)  
  • Taimur Sher, M.D.
Cisplatin toxicity  
Developing new models for testing ovarian cancer therapeutics  
  • Paul Haluska Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
Developing new treatments for the therapy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia  
Drug transport
Drug transport and ubiquitin ligases as drug targets
  • Xiu-bao Chang, Ph.D.
Harnessing the activity of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors
Harnessing the power of nanotechnology to treat cancer  
  • Priyabrata Mukherjee, Ph.D.
High-throughput screening for new anticancer drugs  
  • Nathalie Meurice, Ph.D.
Identifying new treatments for thyroid and renal cell carcinomas
Improving the outcome in glioblastoma  
Investigating the action of agents that activate apoptotic pathways
Novel targets for the therapy of multiple myeloma  
Rational design of new drugs  
  • Franklyn G. Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D.
Targeting DNA damage-activated checkpoints  
Targeting NAD+ as a therapeutic strategy  
Targeting protein kinase C isoforms