Acid Ceramidase, Target for Cancer

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R41CA139637-01
Agency Tracking Number: CA139637
Amount: $441,419.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2009-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 189978245
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: (843) 693-1376
Research Institution
 Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
19 Hagood Ave., Suite 606
CHARLESTON, SC, 29425 6203
 Nonprofit college or university
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Acid ceramidase (AC) has been implicated as a novel target for cancer therapy because of its pivotal role in regulating interconversion of three key bioactive lipids; ceramide (Cer), sphingosine (Sph) and Sphingosine-1-Phosphate (S1P). It is well known that Cer functions predominantly as a tumor suppressor lipid and mediator of apoptosis following chemo and radio therapy. On the other hand, S1P is a tumor promoting lipid that counteracts the actions of Cer. Importantly, our recent studies identified AC as a negative prognostic factor in cancer therapy, since AC over-expression induces a more aggressive cancer phenotype which causes drug or radiation resistance. Reversal of AC expression utilizing siRNA or small molecule AC inhibitors clearly demonstrated a reduction in the aggressive cancer phenotype and improved chemo, gene or radiation therapy outcomes in vitro and in vivo. Up-regulated AC expression has been observed in 60-70% of cancers examined including in breast, lung, prostate, melanoma, colon, brain, and oral cancers. New cases per year totaling more than 700,000 patients are projected from these data based on ACS 2004 statistics. Thus, because of the potential for a direct benefit of improved clinical outcomes, the development of small molecule AC inhibitors by SphingoGene, Inc. is a commercially feasible proposition. Therefore, the goal of this phase I STTR application is to develop and validate targeted AC inhibitors. To achieve this goal the following specific aims will be carried out. Aim 1: Rationally design and synthesize N-alkylamino-prodrugs (Class E) that inhibit AC enzyme activity. Aim 2: Determine activity of Class E compounds in vitro and at the cellular level. Aim 3: Determine in vivo toxicity, pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics and AC inhibitory activity of lead Class E1 and E2-5 AC inhibitors. This research is a partnership between basic scientists at MUSC and SphingoGene, Inc. Drugs developed in this program will have a direct clinical application in cancer therapy. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The data generated by this grant may lead to a direct clinical application. This grant proposes to develop a new class of acid ceramidase inhibitors. These inhibitors function by modifying sphingolipid metabolism and facilitating the effect of chemo, radiation or gene therapy in killing cancer cells.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government