UF researcher to study novel breast cancer therapeutic

By Ian Bennett | bennettian@ufl.edu

Satya Narayan, Ph.D., a professor in the department of anatomy & cell biology in the University of Florida College of Medicine, has been awarded a $570,000 Florida Department of Health James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program grant to describe the discovery of a novel small molecule, biisoquinolinederivative (DH20931). This molecule stimulates ceramide synthase 2 (CerS2) activity and induces lipotoxic and endoplasmic reticulum stress as well as apoptosis in breast cancer cells. 

Satya Narayan, Ph.D.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and there is a critical need for new targets for therapeutics. CerS2 is an enzyme involved in the synthesis of ceramides and plays an important role in the regulation of cell death and survival. Previous research has shown that the dysregulation of CerS2 has been implicated in the development and progression of breast cancer, making it a potential therapeutic target. Research has also shown decreased levels of CerS2 are linked with increased cell proliferation and metastasis and poor survival of patients with breast cancer.  

The Narayan lab discovered that DH20931 acts as CerS2 stimulator. 

“With this new grant, we have the opportunity to make significant progress in understanding the underlying mechanisms of DH20931 and potentially develop new treatments for breast cancer,” Narayan said. “Collaborative grants like these can make a real difference in the fight against cancer.” 

This grant will allow Narayan and his team to increase understanding of the mechanism of action of DH20931 and its potential as a therapeutic agent for breast cancer. The team will also study potential side effects, the potential for resistance to DH20931 and the safety of this therapy. 

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