Providing new therapies to address colorectal cancer is an important challenge because colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. In 2010, there were 51,370 colon cancer deaths in the United States. Colon cancer therapeutic options are currently limited to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. These non-specific therapies are effective for early stage but not for metastatic colon cancer and frequently cause untoward gastrointestinal and hematologic side effects. Further, monoclonal antibody treatments specific for colon cancer are reserved for patients with advanced disease because these therapies provide limited clinical benefit. Thus, there is an urgent major unmet medical need for the development of specific, inexpensive and convenient targeted treatments for colon cancer.
Medicinal chemistry refinement has resulted in a drug-like lead compound that has shown much promise as a compound that inhibits colon cancer cell proliferation in vitro. The ChemRegen program will develop the lead compound and test the feasibility of this lead as a new approach to stopping colon cancer. This investigation takes advantage of a highly selective method that circumvents major limitations of currently available agents. The molecular target is directly linked to cancer cell proliferation and we postulate that compounds targeting this protein component of dysregulated signal transduction may be very efficacious anti-cancer therapies with minimal adverse effects.