Stimulation of an anti-tumor immune response with “chromatin-damaging” therapy

Here, we present data which reveals, for the first time, a role for the immune system in the anti-cancer effects of curaxins.


CBL0137 increases the targeting efficacy of Rovalpituzumab tesirine against tumour-initiating cells in small cell lung cancer

Our preclinical studies report a novel and highly translatable therapeutic strategy of dual targeting TICs using Rova-T in combination with CBL to potentially increase survival of SCLC patients.

Induction of nucleosome disassembly with small molecules as a novel anti-cancer approach

Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting, June 22–24, 2020

Induction of immunogenicity in tumor cells by small molecule drugs that destabilize nucleosomes

Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting, June 22–24, 2020

Histone chaperone FACT is essential to overcome replication stress in mammalian cells

Thus, we propose a novel role for FACT as a factor preventing helicase dissociation from chromatin during replication stress.

Novel anticancer drug curaxin CBL0137 impairs DNA methylation by eukaryotic DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a

Novel DNA intercalating anticancer drug curaxin CBL0137 significantly inhibited in vitro DNA methylation by eukaryotic DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a catalytic domain

Results of a Completed First-In-Human Phase 1b Dose-Escalation Study of Oral CBL0137 in Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors

Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Annual Meeting, May 29–31, 2020

Results of a Completed Phase 1 Trial of CBL0137 Administered Intravenously (IV) to Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors

Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Annual Meeting, May 29–31, 2020

A Translational Hepatic Artery Infusion (HAI) Model for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Woodchucks

The described techniques serve as a reliable platform for the identification and characterization of therapeutics for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Prevention of Colorectal Carcinogenesis by DNA-Binding Small-Molecule Curaxin CBL0137 Involves Suppression of Wnt Signaling

Here, we investigated the tumor-preventive activity of curaxin CBL0137.

Histone chaperone FACT and curaxins: effects on genome structure and function

The histone chaperone facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) plays important roles in essentially every chromatin-associated process and is an important indirect target of the curaxin class of anti-cancer drugs.

Potent antileukemic activity of curaxin CBL0137 against MLL‐rearranged leukemia

Our findings support further preclinical evaluation of CBL0137 as a new approach for the treatment of MLL‐r leukemia.

The 3D Genome as a Target for Anticancer Therapy

Changes in spatial genome organization (3D genome) of cancer cells mostly occur on the level of topologically associating domains (TADs) and chromatin loops.

The anti-cancer drugs curaxins target spatial genome organization

Recently we characterized a class of anti-cancer agents (curaxins) that disturbs DNA/histone interactions within nucleosomes.

Chromatin Stability as a Target for Cancer Treatment

In this essay, I propose that DNA-binding anti-cancer drugs work more via chromatin disruption than DNA damage.


Role of Chromatin Damage and Chromatin Trapping of FACT in Mediating the Anticancer Cytotoxicity of DNA-Binding Small-Molecule Drugs

DNA-targeting small molecules have been widely used for cancer treatment for many years

Mechanism of FACT removal from transcribed genes by anticancer drugs curaxins

Human FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) is a multifunctional protein complex that has histone chaperone activity and facilitates nucleosome survival and transcription through chromatin.

The FACT inhibitor CBL0137 Synergizes with Cisplatin in Small-Cell Lung Cancer by Increasing NOTCH1 Expression and Targeting TumorInitiating Cells

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world, with more than 1.3 million fatalities annuall

TRAIN (Transcription of Repeats Activates INterferon) in response to chromatin destabilization induced by small molecules in mammalian cells

The effect of CBL0137 on gene expression may be due to its binding to DNA and the unfolding of chromatin or due to the functional inhibition of FACT.


Level of FACT defines the transcriptional landscape and aggressive phenotype of breast cancer cells.

Although breast cancer (BrCa) may be detected at an early stage, there is a shortage of markers that predict tumor aggressiveness and a lack of targeted therapies. Histone chaperone FACT, expressed in a limited number of normal cells, is overexpressed in different types of cancer, including BrCa. Recently, we found that FACT expression in BrCa correlates with markers of aggressive BrCa, which prompted us to explore the consequences of FACT inhibition in BrCa cells with varying levels of FACT.

FACT is a sensor of DNA torsional stress in eukaryotic cells

Transitions of B-DNA to alternative DNA structures (ADS) can be triggered by negative torsional strain, which occurs during replication and transcription, and may lead to genomic instability. However, how ADS are recognized in cells is unclear.


Preclinical Validation of a Single-Treatment Infusion Modality That Can Eradicate Extremity Melanomas

Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) with the chemotherapeutic agent melphalan is an effective treatment option for extremity in-transit melanoma but is toxic and technically challenging to deliver locoregionally. CBL0137 is an experimental clinical drug with broad anticancer activity in animal models, owing to its ability to bind DNA in a nongenotoxic manner and inactivate the FACT chromatin modulator essential for tumor cell viability.

Pharmacological Targeting of the Histone Chaperone Complex FACT Preferentially Eliminates Glioblastoma Stem Cells and Prolongs Survival in Preclinical Models

The nearly universal recurrence of glioblastoma (GBM) is driven in part by a treatment-resistant subpopulation of GBM stem cells (GSC). To identify improved therapeutic possibilities, we combined the EGFR/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib with a novel small molecule, CBL0137, which inhibits FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription), a histone chaperone complex predominantly expressed in undifferentiated cells.

Anticancer drug candidate CBL0137, which inhibits histone chaperone FACT, is efficacious in preclinical orthotopic models of temozolomide- responsive and -resistant glioblastoma

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most prevalent and aggressive primary brain tumor, with a dismal 5-year survival rate of about 5%. Standard-of-care therapies, including surgery, radiation, and temozolomide chemotherapy, have brought median sur vival to almost 15 months. However, this figure has stalled.


Therapeutic targeting of the MYC signal by inhibition of FACT in neuroblastoma

Amplification of the MYCN oncogene predicts treatment resistance in childhood neuroblastoma. We used a MYC target gene signature that predicts poor neuroblastoma prognosis to identify the histone chaperone FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) as a crucial mediator of the MYC signal and a therapeutic target in the disease.


Quinacrine Overcomes Resistance to Erlotinib by Inhibiting FACT, NF-kB, and Cell-Cycle Progression in Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Erlotinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In these patients, erlotinib prolongs survival but its benefit remains modest because many tumors express wild-type (wt) EGFR or develop a second-site EGFR mutation.

Curaxin CBL0137 eradicates drug resistant cancer stem cells

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) continues to be one of the deadliest cancers due to the absence of effective treatment. Curaxins are a class of small molecules with anti-cancer activity demonstrated in different models of cancer in mice.


Facilitates Chromatin Transcription Complex is an “Accelerator” of Tumor Transformation and Potential Marker and Target of Aggressive Cancers

The facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) complex is involved in chromatin remodeling during transcription, replication, and DNA repair. FACT was previously considered to be ubiquitously expressed and not associated with any disease.


Targeting FACT Complex Suppresses Mammary Tumorigenesis in Her2neu Transgenic Mice

Development of safe and effective tumor-preventive treatments for high-risk patient populations and therapies for early-stage cancer remains a critical need in oncology. We have recently discovered compound with anticancer activity, Curaxin-137, which modulates several important signaling pathways involved in even the very early stages of cancer.


Expression of FACT in mammalian tissues suggests its role in maintaining of undifferentiated state of cells

The Facilitates Chromatin Transcription (FACT) chromatin remodeling complex, comprised of two subunits, SSRP1 and SPT16, is involved in transcription, replication and DNA repair. We recently showed that curaxins, small molecules with anti-cancer activity, target FACT and kill tumor cells in a FACT-dependent manner.

Cancer Drug Discovery Faces the FACT

In this issue of Science Translational Medicine, Gasparian et al. use a clever cell-based screen to identify a family of DNA-binding small molecules—curaxins—that inhibit tumor cell growth and division. The curaxins’ mechanism of action pinpoints a new chromatin-remodeling factor as a therapeutic target for cancer.

Anticancer Compounds that Simultaneously Suppress NF-kB and Activate p53 by Targeting FACT

Targeted cancer therapies offer the possibility of personalized therapies with reduced toxicity, but their impact is limited by the development of drug resistance and subsequent proliferation of tumor cells that are refractory to further treatment. Combination therapies might help overcome the resistance problem because a tumor cell is less likely to be simultaneously resistant to multiple drugs that act by distinct mechanisms, but the potential for negative drug interactions and increased toxicities causes concern in the clinic.


Gurova New hopes from old drugs revisiting DNA-binding small molecules as anticancer agents

Most of the anticancer chemotherapeutic drugs that are broadly and successfully used today are DNA-damaging agents. Targeting of DNA has been proven to cause relatively potent and selective destruction of tumor cells.

Anti-malaria drug blocks proteotoxic stress response anti-cancer implications

The number of physical conditions and chemical agents induce accumulation of misfolded
proteins creating proteotoxic stress. This leads to activation of adaptive pro-survival pathway, known as heat shock response (HSR), resulting in expression of additional chaperones.

9-Aminoacridine-based anticancer drugs target the PI3KAKTmTOR, NF-kB and p53 pathways

Acquisition of a transformed phenotype involves deregulation of several signal transduction pathways contributing to unconstrained cell growth. Understanding the interplay of different cancer-related signaling pathways is important for development of efficacious multitargeted anticancer drugs.


Small molecules that reactivate p53 in renal cell carcinoma reveal a NF-kB dependent mechanism of p53 supression in tumors

Renal cell carcinomas (RCC) commonly retain wild-type but func tionally inactive p53, which is repressed by an unknown dominant mechanism. To help reveal this mechanism, we screened a diverse chemical library for small molecules capable of restoring p53 dependent transactivation in RCC cells carrying a p53-responsive reporter.


p53 pathway in renal cell carcinoma is repressed by a dominant mechanism

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) rarely acquires mutations in p53 tumor suppressor gene, suggesting that p53 signaling in this tumor type might be repressed by some other mechanism. In fact, all four RCC-derived cell lines we tested maintained wild-type p53 but were not capable of transactivating p53-responsive reporters and endogenous p53-responsive genes.