Researchers involved in a Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) project pairing Ibis Therapeutics and the University of South Florida (USF) may be on track to developing a cure for cancer.
STING (stimulator of interferon genes) is a natural protein within the body’s immune system that acts as the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. When activated, STING causes white blood cells to release cytokine, a chemical that can destroy tumors.
“In the cancer treatment industry, the c-word – cure – is used very cautiously, but it might actually be relevant with a pathway like STING,” said Sam Shrivastava, CEO of IBIS Therapeutics.
Shrivastava and the Ibis Therapeutics team are working alongside USF researchers Wayne Guida, Ph.D., and Kenyon Daniel, Ph.D., to develop an oral pill that treats metastasized cancer by activating STING proteins. Researchers leverage computational chemistry, virtual screening and machine learning algorithms to determine a compound’s viability. Still in its early stages, the treatment would bear applications for a wide variety of conditions, especially for difficult-to-treat, undruggable cancers, or those with very poor survival rates.