Novel Activin Antagonists as therapeutics for breast cancer metastasis and cachexia

  • Woodruff, Teresa K (PD/PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


To effectively treat activin-driven diseases, there is a need for ligand-specific antagonists that minimize the
off-target effects of existing soluble receptor-based approaches. Guided by the solution structure of
activin, we propose to optimize small molecule antagonists that specifically prevent binding of activin
to its receptor. We will then test candidate small molecules using in vitro screening bioassays and in vivo
normal and disease models. The specific activin-driven disease that we will tackle is breast cancer and
associated cancer-related cachexia. Soluble type II activin receptors have been developed to reverse
cachexia, but because the ActRII family binds to multiple ligands, these agents have many off-target effects.
Thus, we hypothesize that a small molecule antagonist designed to specifically block the interaction
between activin and its receptor will be a more effective candidate drug for treating activin-driven breast
cancer and cancer-related cachexia.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/16


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Exhibit B.15//9/1/14)


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