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Development of carbohydrate based anticancer agents

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CarboMed (Development of carbohydrate based anticancer agents)

Reporting period: 2022-09-01 to 2024-02-29

Carbohydrates (glycans) coat the cell of every organism. The glycosylation pattern of cancer cells is, however, very different from that of healthy cells and is associated with aggressive and invasive forms of cancers. By combining our knowledge on carbohydrate chemistry, cancer immunology with the drug discovery and medicinal chemistry of our ERC project GlycoEdit, we found carbohydrate based inhibitors that selectively target the biosynthesis of the cancer-cell protecting carbohydrate coat. By doing so, it was found they it can severely cripple the cancer's ability to grow and metastasize and trigger immune mediated killing. Our lead candidate is a potent and selective metabolic inhibitor of the fucosylation biosynthesis pathway and therefore offers a rich and promising frontier for the development of a glycan-based therapy for cancer.
The CarboMed project has led to the assessment of the commercial viability of carbohydrate based inhibitors that could serve as next-generation therapeutics to treat cancer in the clinic.
In this project, we have delivered technical and commercial proof-of-concept to ultimately enable clinical studies. The intellectual property is now licenced to GlycoTherapeutics B.V. which will further investigate the (pre)clinical potential of this technology.