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Wistar receives $1.5 million Department of Defense grant to ready prostate drug for clinical use
Date:9/12/2013

To prepare a potential new prostate cancer drug, called Gamitrinib, for trial in humans, The Wistar Institute has received a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

The three-year grant will cover the costs of developing the data necessary to allow the use of Gamitrinib in the clinic. The end goal is to be able to file an Investigational New Drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration, says the drug's inventor and the project's lead investigator, Dario C. Altieri, M.D.

"Years of research have brought us to the point where Gamitrinib is ready for prime time," said Altieri, Wistar's Chief Scientific Officer and director of Wistar's National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. "These funds will help us bridge the gap between a promising discovery and a practical drug for metastatic prostate cancer."

Metastatic prostate cancer remains a devastating disease in need of new therapies, says Altieri. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer will kill about 25,000 Americans each year. "While there have been new prostate cancer drugs in recent years, their success is often measured in prolonging the lives of patients with metastatic disease for weeks or months," Altieri said. "We are interested in adding years to patients' liveswe want cures."

The Altieri laboratory designed Gamitrinib to disable multiple functions of mitochondria in cancer cells, prompting these cells to die. Gamitrinib was also shown to enhance the activity of other targeted cancer therapies in mice. The project began as the Altieri lab explored the role of a molecule called HSP90 in cancers. In particular, a body of evidence suggested that HSP90 accumulated in large amounts in the mitochondria of cancer cells. Mitochondria are organellesstructures within a cellthat help create useful energy for the cell and keep them alive.

While anti-HSP90 drugs exist, a
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3934
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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