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Validation of RIPK2 as a Small Molecule Drug Target for Lung Cancer Treatment

Institution: Scripps Research Institute
Investigator(s): Philipp Sander,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30DT0903 Award: $118,350
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Our research group used automated robots to test over 1 million small molecule chemicals to find new drugs that kill brain cancer cells while not harming healthy brain tissue. We discovered a highly active compound called RIPGBM that kills brain cancer cell ten times better than regular, healthy cells. We discovered that the protein that is targeted by cRIPGBM also may be a driving force in lung cancer. Lung cancer patients who have more of this protein called RIPK2 have a lower survival expectancy than patients who have less of this protein. Based on this finding, we believe that be blocking the RIPK2 protein in lung cancer cells, we can develop a new targeted treatment for lung cancer with fewer side effects based on our newly discovered compound RIPGBM. We will test this compound in 8 different lung cancer cell lines for lung cancer killing ability, and check if it harms healthy lung cells. To understand how this compound binds its target protein, we will take snap shots of the compound bound to the protein with atomic resolution using X-ray beams. Knowing how exactly it binds will allows us to design better versions of our original molecule and quickly develop new lung cancer drugs. The research funds raised from tobacco sales through the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program will directly support studies investigating new treatments and treatment strategies for lung cancer, which very often is caused by tobacco use and smoking.