A new molecule synthesized by a University of Texas at Dallas researcher kills a broad spectrum of hard-to-treat cancers. Dr. Jung-Mo Ahn and his colleagues tested a novel compound he synthesized called ERX-41 for its effects against breast cancer cells. They also found that ERX-41 is effective against other cancer types with elevated endoplasmic reticulum stress, including hard-to-treat pancreatic and ovarian cancers and glioblastoma, the most aggressive and lethal primary brain cancer.
The researchers discovered that ERX-41 binds to a cellular protein called lysosomal acid lipase A (LIPA) which is found in a cell structure called the endoplasmic reticulum. “The ERX-41 compound did not kill healthy cells, but it wiped out tumor cells regardless of whether the cancer cells had estrogen receptors. In fact, it killed the triple-negative breast cancer cells better than it killed the ER-positive cell,” Ahn said. Dr. Ganesh Raj, professor of urology and pharmacology at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center, as well as Dr. Ratna Vadlamudi, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Tae-Kyung Lee, a former UTD research scientist in Ahn’s Bio-Organic/Medicinal Chemistry Lab, participated in synthesizing the compound. A company in Dallas announced clinical trials of ERX-41 as early as the first quarter of 2023.