CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging, announced today that it will collaborate with the National Cancer Institute to test the anti-cancer impact of Sirtris' SIRT1 enzyme activators in numerous models of cancer.
"By providing the resources for this study, the National Cancer Institute is accelerating the testing of our compounds in both solid and hematological models of cancer," says Sirtris Pharmaceuticals CEO and Vice Chair Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D. "Cancer is the second leading cause of age-related mortality, and this study will advance our understanding of SIRT1 activation and its potential anti-cancer properties."
The study will include SRT501, a proprietary formulation of resveratrol, and multiple compounds from different chemical classes of Sirtris' new chemical entities, which are 1000 times more potent than resveratrol in in-vitro studies. All of the compounds activate SIRT1, an enzyme that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties in previous preclinical testing.
The NCI will test the compounds in well-established cancer cell lines which were previously used in the development of novel and existing chemo-therapeutics. The cell lines to be tested include some of the most common cancer types. The program will also test Sirtris' compounds using in-vivo mouse tumor models to determine if the compounds reduce or limit the growth of the tumor cells.
Previous studies have shown that calorie restriction—a method which has been shown to increase SIRT1 activation—can exert strong tumor suppressor effects in mammals and increase lifespan in organisms. Through direct activation of the SIRT1 enzyme with Sirtris' compounds, researchers in this study will be able explore the enzyme's role in tumor suppression along multiple pathways.