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Shaomeng Wang, PhD
Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor in Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry
Co-Director, Molecular Therapeutics Program
Director, Cancer Drug Discovery Program
University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Goal: To develop new therapies for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive form of the disease.
Impact: Dr. Wang is testing a new class of drugs he designed that may be highly effective in treating TNBC. His work could lead to new therapies for this subtype of breast cancer, which currently lacks FDA-approved targeted treatments.
What’s next: He and his team aim to begin clinical development of these drugs.
TNBC is a subtype of breast cancer with a high recurrence rate and a poor prognosis. While chemotherapy is an effective option for patients with TNBC, there is an urgent need to develop targeted treatments for this aggressive disease. Dr. Wang is working on a new class of drugs for TNBC that target a protein on the cell that allows tumors to grow and spread.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Developing effective targeted therapies for patients with triple negative breast cancer.
Impact: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is particularly difficult to treat and has a high likelihood of metastasis – spreading to other tissues beyond the breast. While other forms of breast cancer are treatable with drugs that target estrogen signaling and the HER2 receptor, there are few treatment options and no FDA-approved targeted therapy for patients with TNBC. Dr. Wang’s BCRF research is aiming to identify new targets for TNBC and developing therapies to treat this aggressive type of breast cancer.
Current research: Dr. Wang is developing a new treatment approach, inducing cancer cells to undergo rapid cell death. He hopes to provide a potent and efficacious new anticancer drug for treatment of this highly aggressive cancer subtype.
What he’s learned so far: Preliminary studies by Dr. Wang and his team have demonstrated that a new class of drugs is highly effective in killing human breast cancer cells by specifically eliminating a key cancer-causing protein.
What’s next: He and his colleagues aim to move this new class of anti-cancer therapy into clinical development for the treatment of TNBC in the near future.
Dr. Shaomeng Wang's primary research interest is the discovery and development of novel small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of human breast cancer and other types of cancer focusing on targeting apoptosis and epigenetics pathways. Dr. Wang has built a comprehensive drug discovery program at the University of Michigan and has advanced four novel anticancer drugs into clinical development and several additional compounds into IND-enabling studies. Dr. Wang has published over 250 manuscripts and is an inventor of more than 50 patents and patent applications.
Dr. Wang's research program consists of three research laboratories. The computational/informatics laboratory has the expertise in lead identification and lead optimization using structure-based methods and informatics. The chemistry laboratory has the capability of synthesizing complex small molecule ligands. The biology/biochemistry/pharmacology laboratory has the capability and expertise for assay development, in-depth molecular mechanism studies and evaluations of the biological activity of new compounds in relevant biochemical assays and laboratory models of human cancer, as well as in vivo pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic analysis of these compounds.
BCRF Investigator Since