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W18-021: Targeted therapy for feline pulmonary carcinoma

Primary lung cancer is an uncommon tumor affecting pet cats, but when diagnosed is often at a point in the disease process where surgery and chemotherapy are not effective for providing a cure. Disappointingly, there are few, if any, effective treatment options available to help these affected pet cats. As such, there is a dire need for identifying better therapies for pet cats diagnosed with primary lung cancer. Ideally, new therapies would be selective in killing tumor cells, while sparing normal tissues. NQO1 is a protein that is absent, or expressed at very low levels, in normal tissues in the body but is found to be highly expressed in several tumor types in pet cats, including tumors of the mouth (oral squamous cell carcinoma) and lungs (primary lung carcinoma). Given its overexpression, NQO1 can be targeted for killing cancer cells with certain types of drugs, such as isobutyl-deoxynyboquinone (IB-DNQ). Remarkably, NQO1 is expressed by tumor cells in 90% of cats diagnosed with primary lung cancer, and the administration of IB-DNQ has the potential to fight cancer in the majority of pet cats treated. Early studies have shown that IB-DNQ, when given as a single-agent, is not only safe in pet cats but also can shrink aggressive cancers such as oral squamous cell carcinoma. Based upon the safety of IB-DNQ and its potential cancer fighting activities in cats, the current proposal seeks to further evaluate the use of IB-DNQ for treating pet cats with NQO1-expressing primary lung cancers.

Grant ID: W18-021

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2018

Amount awarded: $24,998

Investigator: Alycen Lundberg, DVM and Timothy Fan, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; University of Illinois