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Cancer Therapeutics Based on Novel Cyclopamine Analogs


Jeffrey Winkler

Tech ID

Researchers at The Wistar Institute and The University of Pennsylvania have developed novel cyclopamine analogs with high potential as anti-cancer agents. Cyclopamine is a plant-derived alkaloid that is an effective inhibitor of the sonic hedgehog-GLI (SHH) signaling pathway which has been implicated in the development of a variety of cancers, including lung, prostate, and breast cancer. Cyclopamine has been demonstrated to reduce cancer cell proliferation, and to promote apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. However, cyclopamine is difficult and expensive to synthesize, limiting its usefulness as a therapeutic agent. Wistar and Penn researchers have developed a simple method for synthesizing cyclopamine analogs. Several of these analogs have been demonstrated to be effective inhibitors of sonic hedgehog signaling in vitro.

Key Words
cancer treatment, cyclopamine, sonic hedgehog
Applications and Advantages

These compounds may be useful for treating primary cancer, or for preventing metastatic disease in breast, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and other cancers. Unlike the parent compound, cyclopamine, and its previously-described derivatives, these steroid-derived analogs developed are simple to synthesize. They retain the effectiveness of cyclopamine as an anti-cancer agent.

Intellectual Property Status

PCT Application No. PCT/US2008/081704 (WO 2009/058945, published 05/07/2009); a U.S. application has been filed.

Licensing Opportunity

Wistar is seeking to collaborate with a corporate partner to use this technology to develop small molecule cancer therapies. An exclusive license or sponsored research to further develop the technology would be considered.