Grants - Translational Grants - California - 2015

W. Clay Gustafson, M.D., Ph.D.

Funded by the 2015 Wine Celebration Fund a Need

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood. Amplification of the MYCN proto-oncogene occurs commonly in high-risk neuroblastoma and marks a particularly aggressive and lethal form of the disease. We and others have described an array of highly targeted inhibitors to block kinases both upstream and downstream of MYCN in neuroblastoma. Among these targeted inhibitors, we have recently described a novel conformation disrupting inhibitor of Aurora Kinase A which potently induces MYCN degradation through an allosteric change in Aurora Kinase A. Because these inhibitors target distinct members of the MYCN pathway, we hypothesize that they will have nonoverlapping toxicities and that combinations of MYCN targeted therapies will more potently block MYCN. In Aim 1 of this proposal we will rigorously test combinations of MYCN targeted therapies for pre-clinical efficacy with the goal of rapidly translating combinations into patients with neuroblastoma. In Aim 2 of this proposal we will develop our novel conformation disrupting Aurora Kinase inhibitor to “dial out” toxic Aurora Kinase A activity and finesse more potent MYCN degradation in neuroblastoma to optimize therapeutic efficacy. Successful completion of this proposal will result in direct and rapid translation of therapeutic combinations of MYCN targeted therapies into children with neuroblastoma and provide new clinical grade drug candidates for conformation disrupting Aurora Kinase A inhibitors.