Gabor Tigyi Receives $1.4 Million Grant to Continue Cancer Research

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Gabor Tigyi, MD, PhD, Harriet S. Van Vleet Chair in Oncology Research, professor and chair in the Department of Physiology at UTHSC, has received a grant totaling $1,497,646 from the National Cancer Institute.

Gabor Tigyi, MD, PhD, Harriet S. Van Vleet Chair in Oncology Research, professor and chair in the Department of Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $1,497,646 from the National Cancer Institute, a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health. The award will fund Dr. Tigyi’s ongoing cancer research. The study titled, “Anticancer Strategies Targeting the Autotaxin-LPA Receptor Axis,” will be conducted over a five-year period.

The research undertaken by Dr. Tigyi and his team is focused on developing a new class of drugs that controls the spread of cancers by inhibiting autotaxin, a key enzyme involved in metastasis. This current project grew out of a decade-long collaboration between Dr. Tigyi’s laboratory in the Department of Physiology, UTHSC College of Medicine, and the laboratories of Duane D. Miller, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UTHSC College of Pharmacy, and Abby L. Parrill, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at The University of Memphis.

With this five-year renewal of the grant, this project has been successfully funded for 15 years. One outcome of this effort has been the promising drug candidate Rx100, which is a potent inhibitor of radiation injury. According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “preliminary data suggests that Rx100 can protect or mitigate injury and improve survival if administered up to 72 hours after deadly whole-body radiation exposure.”

UTHSC has licensed Rx100 to RxBio, Inc. The compound Rx100 has itself received funding from the Department of Defense and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in excess of $25 million for development for use in the mitigation of gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome. As a result, Rx100 entered the FDA’s regulatory pipeline.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.