Over-expression of erbB family members is a common feature of many human malignancies. ErbB1(EGFr), erbB2 (pl85CerbB2), erbB3 and erbB4 receptors have been found to be abnormally distributed on a variety of human tumors and lead to the assembly of activating receptor complexes that cause and maintain the transformed state. These cell surface receptors represent therapeutic targets to control or reverse cancer growth. ErbB family members have an unusual relationship with another class of receptors, namely the TNF receptor system, in that they appear to regulate each other. We and others have begun to define this relationship biochemically. The goal of this set of studies is three-fold: 1) to extend our understanding of this complex relationship between EGF and TNF receptors, 2) based on this information to develop small molecule peptidic antagonists to the members of the erbB receptor family and, in particular, to EGF receptors, and 3) simultaneously create agonist mimetics that activate members of the TNF family of receptors, in particular, TNF and Fas receptors. The intent is to treat tumors using small molecules so that within the ensemble of receptors on the surface, the erbB members responsible for transformation will be disabled and the sensitivity of the TNF family of receptors to novel ligands which promote cell death will be increased. The current application will provide knowledge and strategies for developing small molecules in receptor based therapies of EGF receptor and p185 (c-erbB2) receptor related cancers. The hypothesis underlying these aims is that small peptidomimetics may be more efficacious than macromolecules for in vivo anti-tumor biological activities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Subcommittee E - Prevention &Control (NCI)
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University of Pennsylvania
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