UT Health San Antonio researcher to present poster at SABCS on novel molecule to treat breast cancer

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 3, 2018) ― Ratna Vadlamudi, Ph.D., from UT Health San Antonio will present further research on a novel, first-in-class agent to treat estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and ER-negative breast cancer. The research poster will be presented during San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec. 4-8.

“Most breast cancers in women require the hormones estrogen or progesterone to grow. To treat hormone-dependent cancers, you must either block the hormone or block the receptor that receives the hormone to prevent the development of cancer. We have been developing a new molecule called ERX-11 that blocks the growth of recurring breast cancer that becomes resistant to other treatments,” he said.

Dr. Vadlamudi and his research lab have been conducting preclinical work to refine the molecule for future human clinical trials. The professor of obstetrics and gynecology is principal investigator of a series of studies funded by the National Cancer Institute conducted with the research teams Jung-Mo Ahn, Ph.D., from UT Dallas and Ganesh Raj, M.D., Ph.D. from UT Southwestern.

In preclinical experiments, post-doctoral fellow Suryavathi Viswanadhapalli, Ph.D., along with other members of the research teams evaluated 500 forms of the ERX-11 molecule, identifying several versions that show excellent potential for future human clinical trials. They also combined the molecules with the chemotherapy drug palbociclib with cancer cells in the petri dish. “This combination significantly blocked the signaling that causes ER-positive and ER-negative cancers.  It has potent anti-proliferative effects against endocrine-based breast cancers and breast cancer that is resistant to first-line drugs,” he said.

“In mice, this combined therapy worked better than either ERX-11 or palbociclib alone in slowing down the growth of human tumors that are resistant to treatment with (breast cancer chemotherapy drugs) tamoxifen and letrozole,” he said.

“In summary, we have successfully pursued two avenues of improving the ERX-11 molecule for human clinical trials,” he said. “We have developed higher-potency versions of the molecule that show promise against ER-positive breast cancer, and we have shown that the combination of ERX-11 and palbociclib may be a good agent for breast cancer that has become resistant to common endocrine therapy drugs,” he said.

The three research institutions have a joint patent on the new molecule.

UT Health San Antonio is the founder, owner and operator of the SABCS. Learn more about UT Health San Antonio’s involvement in the SABCS here.

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