MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stemsynergy Therapeutics, Inc., today announced a breakthrough study for treating synovial sarcoma, an aggressive soft tissue cancer that predominantly affects teenagers and young adults. Stemsynergy is a privately held biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery and development of small-molecule drugs targeting developmental pathways fundamental to cancer.
Synovial sarcoma is a high-grade soft tissue cancer that is associated with a chromosomal rearrangement, meaning that chromosomes incorrectly switch positions. This results in production of a protein known as “oncogene SYT-SSX.” This protein promotes the uncontrolled cell proliferation that leads to cancer. The 10-year survival rate for individuals with synovial sarcoma is estimated to be as low as 10%. Previously, it was unknown how SYT-SSX caused cancer in people.
In a recent study, published in Cancer Discovery, a group from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Stemsynergy used mice to show that the SYT-SSX oncogene leads to the activation of a cell signaling process called the “Wnt pathway.” This work demonstrated that the Wnt signaling pathway is a master controller for the initiation and growth of synovial sarcomas, and that blocking this pathway can stop tumors from growing.
According to Dr. Josiane Eid, a Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientist who is an expert on synovial sarcoma and lead investigator of the study, “Synovial sarcoma is a devastating disease because it affects young people at the beginning of their lives. We are extremely optimistic that we may have cracked the code for understanding how SYT-SSX leads to the creation of tumors, and we are excited that Stemsynergy’s anti-Wnt compound, SSTC-104, was so potent and effective in our mouse tumor models. With no effective therapies for synovial sarcoma in the clinic, we are very hopeful that SSTC-104 or a similar compound will be effective for its treatment.”
“We are delighted by the results of this study. SSTC-104 was effective in mice injected with human synovial sarcoma cells as well as a genetic mouse model of synovial sarcoma,” said Dr. Darren Orton, Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Stemsynergy and a co-author on the study. “Furthermore, synovial sarcoma is a good model for “Wnt-driven” cancers and this approach is currently being extended to a number of other major cancer types.”
SSTC-104 belongs to a novel class of molecules that activates casein kinase 1alpha to inhibit Wnt signaling. Dr. Ethan Lee, a founder of Stemsynergy and an expert on Wnt signaling, first described such a compound in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Dr. Lee is also a co-author on the present study and a faculty member of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
About Stemsynergy Therapeutics, Inc.
The goal of Stemsynergy’s program is to develop novel targeted therapeutics to effectively treat cancer. Stemsynergy is currently focused on the preclinical development of their new generation of CK1alpha activators.