New approaches in targeted cancer therapy - systematic kinase inhibitor profiling

09/26/2017

Scientists in the research groups of Roman Thomas and Martin Sos at Cologne University Hospital and University of Cologne have tested the effects of more than 1,500 substances on different kinds of cancer cells.

Precision medicine, which custom-tailors therapies to the needs of individual patients, is becoming more and more important in cancer therapy. Today, molecular-biological diagnostics can precisely identify alterations in tumor cells. A major aim of modern cancer therapy is to develop drugs that individually target these altered tumor cells, but do not impact the surrounding healthy cells.

In a large-scale testing procedure, scientists from the research groups of Roman Thomas and Martin Sos at the Institute of Pathology and the Department of Translational Genomics of Cologne University Hospital and associated with the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) have tested the effects of more than 1,500 substances on different kinds of cancer cells. The results of this study are a fundamental prerequisite for the development of new therapies for a rare but devasting tumor which affects young people and children, the so-called NUT midline carcinoma (NMC), which is often lethal.

The testing procedure was carried out in cooperation with the Technical University of Dortmund, the Lead Discovery Center Dortmund, and other international groups. The researchers were able to identify an inhibitor that specifically limits the growth of cells exhibiting a fusion of the proteins BRD4 und NUT.

The resulting BRD4/NUT fusion genes are characteristic for so-called NMC tumours. NMC is a rare, aggressive type of cancer affecting the epithelial tissue of mucous membranes in the patient’s pharynx and throat. To date there is no effective therapy for this cancer.

In the study, the scientists were able to shed light on the molecular mechanism responsible for the effectiveness of the inhibitor. Their insights are an important prerequisite for the development of new and improved therapies for NMC, which is lethal in most cases.

Original publication:

Brägelmann J, Dammert MA, Dietlein F, Heuckmann JM, Choidas A, Böhm S, Richters A, Basu D, Tischler V, Lorenz C, Habenberger P, Fang Z, Ortiz-Cuaran S, Leenders F, Eickhoff J, Koch U, Getlik M, Termathe M, Sallouh M, Greff Z, Varga Z, Balke-Want H, French CA, Peifer M, Reinhardt HC, Örfi L, Kéri G, Ansén S, Heukamp LC, Büttner R, Rauh D, Klebl BM, Thomas RK, Sos ML. (2017) “
Systematic kinase inhibitor profiling identifies CDK9 as a synthetic lethal target in NUT midline carcinoma.” Cell Reports, Vol. 20, Issue 12, 2017.


Media Enquiries:

Prof. Dr. Martin Sos

Department of Translational Genomics
 and
Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC)
Cologne University Hospital

+49 221 478 96175

martin.sos[at]uni-koeln.de

The CMMC news: modified version of the press release of the University of Cologne
https://www.portal.uni-koeln.de/index.php?id=9015&tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=4693&tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=c0346b8098fa7dc7713c6ef342ce3172