Ongoing Project

Small Molecules to target Cancer Stem Cells

Small Molecules to target Cancer Stem Cells

Cancer stem cells are intrinsically resistant to most therapies. Through a collaboration with leading synthetic chemists, we are investigating and developing compounds that selectively eliminate cancer stem cells through non-apoptotic mechanisms.


Dr. Daniel Romo, (Baylor, Dept. of Chemistry)

EMT-driven cancer stem cell sensitization to small molecules

Cancer stem cells act as highly-adaptable tumor-initiating cells, which colonize tumor growth in secondary metastatic sites. CSCs may arise naturally from dedifferentiated adult cells, yet, in tumors, the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to yield CSCs. It may be through this de-differentiation transition that cancer cells gain their stemness, making EMT an attractive process to target in the attempts to eliminate CSCs. Our work seeks to understand the EMT-associated mechanisms responsible for sensitization to a fungus-derived natural product, driving further insights into the effect of small-molecule inhibition of EMT/CSC-driven phenotypes in reducing chemoresistance in TNBC metastases.

Funded by CPRIT #RP180771

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