JUL 11, 2020 1:07 PM PDT

New drug combo could improve immunotherapy for SCCOHT ovarian cancer

Research published recently in PLOS ONE reports on SP-2577, a drug that could help girls and young women plagued with a type of ovarian cancer known as Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type (SCCOHT). According to researcher Dr. Jeffrey Trent, who has been working on this topic at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) for years, SP-2577 could tap the immune system to help combat SCCOHT.

In the study, The novel reversible LSD1 inhibitor SP-2577 promotes anti-tumor immunity in SWItch/Sucrose-NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) complex mutated ovarian cancer, the researcher team proposes a two-fold attack, combining SP-2577, or Seclidemstat, with another immunotherapeutic compound. 

"Immunotherapy is the future of cancer treatment. Our combination of drugs should promote an immune response in an ovarian cancer that usually does not respond well to immunotherapies," said lead author Dr. Raffaella Soldi, a TGen Research Associate Professor. "One drug opens a biological gate, while the other drug helps push immune cells through the gate to attack the cancer."

SP-2577 works by inhibiting a protein called LSD1, which is known to play a role in SCCOHT ovarian cancer, among other cancer types. 

"We suggest in this paper that LSD1 inhibition should improve the immune-therapy response in these tumors. This treatment is exquisitely dependent on the mutation found by Dr. Trent and his group. Without that mutation, this treatment would not work," commented senior author Dr. Sunil Sharma, TGen Deputy Director of Clinical Sciences. 

Dr. Sharma is referring to a previous discovery that a single mutation in a gene called SMARCA4 triggered SCCOHT. Interestingly, this gene had been shown before to be associated with lung, brain, and pancreatic cancer.  "The correlation between mutations in SMARCA4 and the development of SCCOHT is simply unmistakable," explained Dr. Trent in reference to this finding.

The SP-2577 and Pembrolizumab combination is soon to be tested in clinical trials for patients with SCCOHT ovarian cancer. 

Sources: PLOS ONE, Eureka Alert

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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