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Carlsbad, CA, United States

Ponder K.G.,Emory University | Matulis S.M.,Emory University | Hitosugi S.,Emory University | Gupta V.A.,Emory University | And 6 more authors.
Cancer Biology and Therapy | Year: 2016

Carfilzomib (Kyprolis®), a second generation proteasome inhibitor, is FDA approved for single-agent use among relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM). To enhance the therapeutic efficacy of carfilzomib, we sought to combine carfilzomib with other novel agents. TG02, a multi-kinase inhibitor, targets JAK2 and CDK9. The rationale for co-treatment with carfilzomib and TG02 is that both independently target Mcl-1 and most myeloma cells are dependent on this anti-apoptotic protein for survival. We observed at least additive effects using the combination treatment in MM cell lines and patient samples. To determine how the bone marrow environment affects the efficacy of the combination we conducted co-culture experiments with Hs-5 stromal cells. We also examined the mechanism of increased apoptosis by determining the affect on expression of the Bcl-2 family of proteins. We found that carfilzomib increases NOXA mRNA expression, as expected, and TG02 treatment caused a decrease in Mcl-1 protein but not mRNA levels. Consistent with this possibility, we find silencing CDK9 does not change carfilzomib sensitivity in the same manner as addition of TG02. Since changes in Mcl-1 protein occur in the presence of a proteasome inhibitor we hypothesize that regulation of Mcl-1 translation is the most likely mechanism. Taken together our data suggest that dual inhibition of Mcl-1 via decreased expression and the induction of its antagonist NOXA by the combination of carfilzomib and TG02 is active in myeloma and warrants further testing preclinically and in clinical trials. Moreover, regulation of Mcl-1 by TG02 is more complex than initially appreciated. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

Pallis M.,University of Nottingham | Burrows F.,Tragara Pharmaceuticals | Whittall A.,University of Nottingham | Boddy N.,University of Nottingham | And 2 more authors.
BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology | Year: 2013

Background: Dormant cells are characterised by low RNA synthesis. In contrast, cancer cells can be addicted to high RNA synthesis, including synthesis of survival molecules. We hypothesised that dormant cancer cells, already low in RNA, might be sensitive to apoptosis induced by RNA Polymerase II (RP2) inhibitors that further reduce RNA synthesis.Methods: We cultured leukaemia cells continuously in vitro in the presence of an mTOR inhibitor to model dormancy. Apoptosis, damage, RNA content and reducing capacity were evaluated. We treated dormancy-enriched cells for 48 hours with the nucleoside analogues ara-C, 5-azacytidine and clofarabine, the topoisomerase targeting agents daunorubicin, etoposide and irinotecan and three multikinase inhibitors with activity against RP2 - flavopiridol, roscovitine and TG02, and we measured growth inhibition and apoptosis. We describe use of the parameter 2 × IC50 to measure residual cell targeting. RNA synthesis was measured with 5-ethynyl uridine. Drug-induced apoptosis was measured flow cytometrically in primary cells from patients with acute myeloid leukaemia using a CD34/CD71/annexinV gating strategy to identify dormant apoptotic cells.Results: Culture of the KG1a cell line continuously in the presence of an mTOR inhibitor induced features of dormancy including low RNA content, low metabolism and low basal ROS formation in the absence of a DNA damage response or apoptosis. All agents were more effective against the unmanipulated than the dormancy-enriched cells, emphasising the chemoresistant nature of dormant cells. However, the percentage of cell reduction by RP2 inhibitors at 2 × IC50 was significantly greater than that of other agents. RP2 inhibitors strongly inhibited RNA synthesis compared with other drugs. We also showed that RP2 inhibitors induce apoptosis in proliferating and dormancy-enriched KG1a cells and in the CD71neg CD34pos subset of primary acute myeloid leukaemia cells.Conclusion: We suggest that RP2 inhibitors may be a useful class of agent for targeting dormant leukaemia cells. © 2013 Pallis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Pallis M.,University of Nottingham | Abdul-Aziz A.,University of Nottingham | Burrows F.,Tragara Pharmaceuticals | Seedhouse C.,University of Nottingham | And 2 more authors.
British Journal of Haematology | Year: 2012

The novel multi-kinase inhibitor TG02 has selectivity against cell cycle and transcriptional cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) as well as fms-like tyrosine kinase receptor-3 (FLT3). Inhibition of transcriptional CDKs preferentially depletes short-lived proteins such as MCL1. We evaluated the in vitro toxicity of TG02 to primary acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells in the presence of survival signalling pathway activation by cytokines and fibronectin. One hundred nanomolar TG02 induced a median decrease of 40% in bulk cell survival and 43% in the CD34+CD38-CD123+subset. A 90% inhibitory concentration of 500 nmol/l indicated that TG02 toxicity is not halted by protective cell cycle arrest. Samples with FLT3 internal tandem duplication were not preferentially targeted. By flow cytometry, TG02 treatment caused loss of RNA Polymerase II serine 2 phosphorylation in patient samples, which correlated strongly with BAX activation (R2=0·89), suggesting these as potential biomarkers for clinical studies. MCL1 and XIAP expression also decreased. Repeated brief exposure to TG02 in MOLM-13 cells did not result in compensatory up-regulation of survival protein expression. In conclusion, TG02 is potently cytotoxic towards CD34+CD38-CD123+ and bulk AML cells, despite protective signalling pathway activation. This antitumour activity is most likely mediated by dephosphorylation of RNA Polymerase II leading to depletion of survival molecules such as MCL1 and XIAP, with subsequent BAX activation and apoptosis. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Goh K.C.,S BIO Pte Ltd | Novotny-Diermayr V.,S BIO Pte Ltd | Hart S.,S BIO Pte Ltd | Ong L.C.,S BIO Pte Ltd | And 12 more authors.
Leukemia | Year: 2012

TG02 is a novel pyrimidine-based multi-kinase inhibitor that inhibits CDKs 1, 2, 7 and 9 together with JAK2 and FLT3. It dose-dependently inhibits signaling pathways downstream of CDKs, JAK2 and FLT3 in cancer cells with the main targets being CDKs. TG02 is anti-proliferative in a broad range of tumor cell lines, inducing G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Primary cultures of progenitor cells derived from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and polycythemia vera patients are very sensitive to TG02. Comparison with reference inhibitors that block only one of the main targets of TG02 demonstrate the benefit of combined CDK and JAK2/FLT3 inhibition in cell lines as well as primary cells. In vivo, TG02 exhibits favorable pharmacokinetics after oral dosing in xenograft models and accumulates in tumor tissues, inducing an effective blockade of both CDK and STAT signaling. TG02 induces tumor regression after oral dosing on both daily and intermittent schedules in a murine model of mutant-FLT3 leukemia (MV4-11) and prolongs survival in a disseminated AML model with wild-type FLT3 and JAK2 (HL-60). These data demonstrate that TG02 is active in various models of leukemia and provide a rationale for the ongoing clinical evaluation of TG02 in patients with advanced leukemias. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Ortiz-Ruiz M.J.,University of Salamanca | Alvarez-Fernandez S.,University of Salamanca | Parrott T.,Tragara Pharmaceuticals | Zaknoen S.,Tragara Pharmaceuticals | And 4 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2014

Triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) account for 15% of all breast cancers, and represent one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, exhibiting short relapse-free survival. In contrast to other breast cancer subtypes, the absence of knowledge about the etiopathogenic alterations that cause TNBCs force the use of chemotherapeutics to treat these tumors. Because of this, efforts have been devoted with the aim of incorporating novel therapies into the clinical setting. Kinases play important roles in the pathophysiology of several tumors, including TNBC. Since expression of the MAP kinase ERK5 has been linked to patient outcome in breast cancer, we analyzed the potential value of its targeting in TNBC. ERK5 was frequently overexpressed and active in samples from patients with TNBC, as well as in explants from mice carrying genetically-defined TNBC tumors. Moreover, expression of ERK5 was linked to a worse prognosis in TNBC patients. Knockdown experiments demonstrated that ERK5 supported proliferation of TNBC cells. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK5 with TG02, a clinical stage inhibitor which targets ERK5 and other kinases, inhibited cell proliferation by blocking passage of cells through G1 and G2, and also triggered apoptosis in certain TNBC cell lines. TG02 had significant antitumor activity in a TNBC xenograft model in vivo, and also augmented the activity of chemotherapeutic agents commonly used to treat TNBC. Together, these data indicate that ERK5 targeting may represent a valid strategy against TNBC, and support the development of trials aimed at evaluating the clinical effectiveness of drugs that block this kinase. Source

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