Use of Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors in Small Cell Lung Cancer

We have shown that small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a highly aggressive and frequently lethal tumor, uses an embryonic signaling pathway to promote its growth. This signaling pathway is known as the Hedgehog pathway, and its normal function is to regulate organ formation and regulate progenitor cells in embryos and in some adult tissues. SCLC is characterized by abnormal activation of this pathway which can be specifically inhibited by cyclopamine, a naturally occurring compound. Use of cyclopamine specifically inhibits the growth of SCLC, and suggests a potential way to exploit this pathway for novel therapeutic strategies. These strategies could ultimately involve cyclopamine, and other novel inhibitors of Hedgehog pathway, to treat SCLC Description (Set) Proposed Use (Set) SCLC is a highly aggressive, frequently lethal form of lung cancer. Approximately 200,000 people a year die from lung cancer in the United States, 25% of these from SCLC. After initial responses to chemotherapy, the vast majority of patients relapse and die within twelve months. The use of cyclopamine or other novel inhibitors of the hedgehog pathway represents a potential marketable therapy.

Inventor(s): Watkins, David Neil

Type of Offer: Licensing

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