Advanced Cancer Therapeutics (ACT) won a $158,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support preclinical development of a brain cancer drug that inhibits glycolysis targeting 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2, 6-bisphosphatase 3 (PFKFB3). The award will fund studies in models of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

PFKFB3 is a cancer metabolism target licensed to ACT from the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The enzyme is involved in the first, irreversible step of glycolysis, and ACT claims inhibiting its activity should block glucose uptake in cancer cells and inhibit cancer cell proliferation and growth.

“This grant will support ACT’s efforts to investigate the use of this novel therapeutic agent targeting PFKFB3, a cancer metabolism target commonly over-expressed in GBM,” remarks Gilles Tapolsky, Ph.D., ACT’s CSO. “Even today, there are no satisfactory therapies for GBM, so we remain hopeful about this novel therapy and the impact it could provide patients.”

Cancer therapeutics firm ACT has a strategic arrangement with the Brown Cancer Center that gives the firm an option to exclusively license anticancer IP developed at the center. ACT’s strategy is to work with CROs to identify and progress the most promising preclinical anti-cancer products through completion of Phase I clinical trials. The firm’s lead clinical-stage candidate, ACT-GRO-777, is a DNA aptamer licensed from Antisoma in April 2011, which is in Phase II clinical trials. ACT is evaluating the drug for additional human cancer trials in collaboration with the Brown Cancer Center. 

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