ENMD-2076 was developed based on comprehensive research into the relationship between malignancy and angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels). This research led to a focus on drug candidates that act on the cellular pathways that affect biological processes important in multiple diseases, specifically angiogenesis and cell cycle regulation through the inhibition of key kinases. ENMD-2076 has potential applications in oncology and other diseases that are dependent on the regulation of these processes.
Kinases are enzymes that are primary regulators of many essential processes in living cells. There are approximately 500 different kinases encoded in the human genome, and these proteins act together in intricate communication networks and pathways to control virtually every aspect of cellular function. The reliance of the cell on kinases to regulate function can be disastrous when kinase signaling becomes aberrant. Many human diseases have been linked to these enzymes including all forms of cancer, arthritis, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The inhibition of kinases as a targeted therapeutic approach has now been validated by several drugs that have advanced successfully through clinical trials to the marketplace. The integral role kinases play in angiogenesis and cell cycle regulation has led CASI Pharmaceuticals to develop inhibitors to key kinases involved in these processes.
Cell Cycle Regulation
Precise regulation of the cell cycle is essential for healthy cell functions including the replication, growth, and differentiation. One specific aspect of cell cycle regulation is the programmed control of cell death (apoptosis). In certain diseases, such as cancer, the balance between cell proliferation and cell death is altered, resulting in inappropriate cell growth. Our compounds impact biochemical pathways in cells that result in their death via apoptosis. We believe that the selective induction of apoptosis through drugs that induce cell cycle arrest can either stabilize or cause the regression of cancer, inflammation and other disease processes characterized by inappropriate cell growth.
Angiogenesis is a multi-step process whereby new blood vessels are formed. This tightly regulated process involves the migration, proliferation and differentiation of endothelial cells. In normal physiology, angiogenesis is a necessary component of the menstrual cycle and wound healing, where the process is regulated through appropriate shifts in the balance of pro-angiogenic and antiangiogenic signals. This tight regulation of angiogenesis in normal physiology is absent or aberrant in multiple disease settings that are characterized by persistent, inappropriate blood vessel development. Inappropriate angiogenesis occurs in more than 80 diseases, particularly in various cancers where the growth of new blood vessels is necessary to sustain tumor growth.