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Newly synthesized compounds can starve multiple myeloma—a rare form of blood cancer—to death, according to a series of studies using patient samples.
The new compounds offer “a new strategy for attacking multiple myeloma…”
Tumor cells, including those of the largely fatal plasma cell malignancy multiple myeloma, thrive on glucose. In this cancer, the tumor co-opts the GLUT4 protein, a vital glucose transporter, for its own proliferation and survival. The new compounds antagonized the transporter, helping to starve the cancer cells to death.
“Inhibiting a glucose transporter would be a new strategy for attacking multiple myeloma,” says Gary Schiltz, deputy director of the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery (CMIDD) at Northwestern University, a research professor in pharmacology, and a corresponding author of the paper.
“Our ability to conduct molecular modeling and computational chemistry to support the design and synthesis of these compounds exemplifies the center’s ability to facilitate the translation of basic scientific discoveries into therapeutic candidates,” he says.
After the new compounds were synthesized at CMIDD, they went to Mala Shanmugam from Emory University and Paul Hruz from Washington University in St. Louis for testing in different biological assays to determine the compound’s ability to antagonize the GLUT4 glucose transporter.