Sphingolipid Metabolite Mimetics Synthesis and Use in Cancer Therapy


Current State of the Art:

Lipids are fatty substances found in every cell in our bodies.  Sphingolipids are a particular family of lipids which are bioeffectors that mediate various cellular processes.  They were discovered in that late 19th century by German biochemist  Johann Thudichum who is said to have named them after the sphinx because they were enigmatic.  Sphingolipids have since been studied for their role in a variety of genetic diseases, particularly those where harmful amounts of sphingolipids build up in the body’s cells and tissues such as cancer and lipid disorders. This research interest has included the development of several synthetic, non-natural analogs of sphingolipids, especially ceramide, for the treatment of leukemias, pancreatic and prostate cancer, as well as for MS in phase II clinical trial by Novartis.

Problems with the Current Art:

Preferred molecule designs, conformations and formulations of sphingolipid synthetic compounds are recognized as having the potential for effecting cell apoptosis in tumor and inflammatory diseases, but have had limited success in to date.  Interest in sphingolipid mediated drug-resistance remains strong, but drug candidates have demonsrated cytoxicity and insoluble for a variety of reasons still under study.


Advantages of the Novel Invention:

The invention is a set of sphingolipid metabolie mimetics synthesized from four basal structure groups through a rational design process aimed at achieving anti-cancer activity.  The compounds displayed anti-cancer activity and helped overcome drug resistance to conventional chemotherapeutics.

Case ID:  GRU #2013-009

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Carl Clark
Director Technology Transfer
Augusta University
Kebin Liu
Feiyan Liu
Ping Wu
Zhizhen Huang
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