Mountain View, CA, December 11, 2018 ̶ Privately held biotechnology company, Tosk, Inc., announced today a joint presentation with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Frederick National Laboratory and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center (TTHSC) at a meeting this week in San Diego, CA. The meeting, entitled “Targeting RAS-Driven Cancers,” was sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The presentation was entitled “kRAS and Metabolism: An Interesting Interplay.”
Mutations in the human kRAS gene drive 90% of pancreatic cancers, 45% of colon cancers, and 35% of lung cancers. Patients with certain mutated kRAS genes also do not benefit from treatment with a widely-used class of cancer drugs known as EGFR inhibitors, such as Erbitux®. An effective inhibitor of mutated kRAS would address these unmet medical needs and provide an important, new treatment for cancer.
Tosk features proprietary discovery technology using the common fruit fly to discover potential kRAS-inhibiting drugs. This discovery platform uses fruit files with a mutated human kRAS gene integrated into their genome, causing the fly’s wings to be crimped. Tosk screens for drugs which reverse this wing crimping by inhibiting the protein produced by the mutated kRAS gene.
The presentation discussed how a small molecule discovered by Tosk, partially restored normal wing development in the kRAS mutated flies and inhibited growth and signal transduction in multiple, oncogenic kRAS-driven cell lines. The goal of the successful collaboration between Tosk, NCI’s Frederick Laboratory, and TTHSC was to establish the mechanism-of-action of the discovered inhibitor. The work at Tosk and TTHSC was funded by an SBIR grant from NCI.
Dr. William Garland, Vice President of Research and Development at Tosk stated, “This innovative work on the discovered inhibitor provided important information on the previously, not fully appreciated, interplay between mutated kRAS and a metabolic process. The information gained will help future work at Tosk. The results demonstrate the power of collaboration among a small research company, academia, and a large public research institute. None of the groups alone could have achieved the advance reported in our joint presentation.”