New Anticancer Drug Begins Clinical Trials Around the U.S.

UH’s Bose Discovered a New Class of Drug Before Taking a Leadership Role at the University

Rathindra Bose, vice president for research and technology transfer, discovered a new class of anticancer drug.

Clinical trials are underway for an anticancer drug developed by Rathindra Bose, vice president for research and technology transfer at the University of Houston and vice chancellor at the University of Houston system.

The drug is a next-generation platinum antitumor agent targeting solid tumors.

Bose, who also holds faculty appointments in the UH departments of Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, spent years working on platinum-based cancer drugs, which have been in the frontier of treatment with or without a combination of other drugs.

But these platinum therapies are known to be toxic, causing kidney damage, neurological damage and other problems. His goal was to find a class of platinum compounds that would be effective without exhibiting severe toxicities.

The compounds have been licensed to a biotechnology company, Phosplatin Therapeutics. The Phase 1 clinical trials – held at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora, Colo., and the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn. – are designed to test the drug for safety and tolerability, adverse effects and to find the best dosage for patients. Later phases, if it advances, will test for efficacy against specific cancer types.

Early research on the discovery was published while Bose was at Ohio University. He was recruited to UH in 2011, where he assumed the role of vice chancellor for research and technology transfer for the system and vice president for the flagship campus.

In that role, he oversees the University’s $130.8 million research and technology transfer operation, along with a number of nationally known research centers and institutes.

Bose also continues to maintain his own lab at UH, and in 2013, he was elected as a fellow with the National Academy of Inventors. He holds six issued and four pending U.S. patents on cancer therapeutics and fuel cell electrocatalysts.

Unlike traditional cancer therapies, which target specific organs, these compounds work on all three major pathways that can be used to control cancer: killing only the undesired cancer cells, activating tumor suppression genes and cutting the blood supply to the cancer cells.

The lead compounds were shown to be effective against nearly all cell lines of the National Cancer Institute. The clinical trials will focus on lung, gastrointestinal and ovarian cancers, although Bose said early enrollment is open to anyone with cancer for whom standard treatment has been unsuccessful.