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Los Alamos National Laboratory

We are working with the Hlavacek lab to develop a computational model of autophagy.  This team science project involves an iterative process between biologists in the MacKeigan Lab and mathematicians at LANL.  The goal for this model is to generate new, non-intuitive predictions about cancer cell behavior, which could inform new therapeutic approaches.  This work is funded by the National Cancer Institute, award R01CA197398.

Michigan State University

Dr. Ellsworth directs the MSU Medicinal Chemistry Facility and has over 25 years of experience as a synthetic and medicinal chemist.  The lab is working with Dr. Ellsworth to develop small molecule inhibitors to target the autophagy pathway. Targeting the autophagy pathway may prove beneficial in treating cancers already resistant to current therapies. This work is important because existing autophagy inhibitors lack specificity, resulting in off-target effects. We aim to develop an autophagy inhibitor with drug-like properties for future preclinical studies and possible therapeutic development.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Dr. Krueger is an expert TSC clinician and researcher, and we are working with him to sequence TSC patient samples and analyze the resulting genomic data.  TSC affects each patient differently, with some patients being symptom-free and others experiencing severe tumor burden and clinical manifestations.  This research with Dr. Krueger’s team will determine whether genomic data can explain varying levels of disease severity in patients, and may inform personalized treatment strategies.

Van Andel Research Institute

Our laboratory is working to evaluate ULK-101, our novel ULK1 inhibitor, in preclinical models of lung cancer.  Dr. Williams has over 25 years of experience working with mouse models of cancer.  As such, Dr. Williams and his lab provide important insights and expertise as we test our compound in genetically engineered models (GEMM) of KRAS-driven lung cancer.  These studies will provide data to support the safety, efficacy, and target engagement of ULK-101 in mammalian models, thereby laying a foundation for future clinical development of this compound and other autophagy inhibitors.

Michigan State University

In partnership with Dr. Sortwell, we are investigating the potential of Rho kinase inhibitors as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease (PD).  Dr. Sortwell’s lab has significant expertise using preclinical models of PD, while our team brings strong skills in kinase assays to validate target engagement.  This project aims to uncover whether existing drugs or compounds may be repurposed for treatment in PD.

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