SignaBlok Awarded NCI Grant to Test New Approach to Lung Cancer Treatment

SignaBlok, Inc., a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical startup, has been awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop novel and first-in-class agents in lung cancer.

Online PR News – 02-October-2012 – Shrewsbury, MA – The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded SignaBlok, Inc., a Massachusetts-based emerging biopharmaceutical company, a $221,738 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to in vivo test a new approach to treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Cancer-related inflammation promotes NSCLC progression and metastasis. SignaBlok’s innovative approach targets a specific receptor called TREM-1 that serves as an inflammation amplifier and is expressed on tumor-associated inflammatory cells, macrophages.

The grant, “Development of novel targeted agents in lung cancer”, combines two novel SignaBlok’s proprietary technologies: 1) ligand-independent inhibition of cell receptors, known as the SCHOOL technology, and 2) nanotechnology for macrophage-targeted drug delivery.

The NCI funds will support formulation development and in vivo proof-of-concept studies to evaluate the anticancer efficacy of TREM-1-specific SCHOOL peptides in either the free or nanoparticulate form. The most promising formulations will be selected for Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling toxicology studies and further clinical development. This could ultimately lead to first-in-class therapies for cancer.

“This award from the NCI/NIH reinforces the promise of our SCHOOL technology and innovative drug delivery nanosystems,” said Alexander Sigalov, Ph.D., President, Inventor and Founder of SignaBlok. “We have recently succeeded in the animal proof-of-concept testing of these technologies in sepsis. With the NCI funding, we hope to establish in vivo proof of concept for NSCLC. This will set the stage for the development of new therapies for not only NSCLC but also other inflammation-associated cancers such as pancreatic and colon cancers, thereby leading to a higher survival rate of the patients.”

About non-small cell lung cancer: NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer. It kills more patients than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined, and the 5-year survival rate is as low as 15%. Current treatments of NSCLC all have multiple shortcomings including only a modest increase in survival and significant toxicity to the patient. The limitations in efficacy and safety associated with available treatments for NSCLC highlight the need for new treatments.

About SignaBlok
SignaBlok is developing a new class of therapies – SCHOOL peptides, the innovative modulatory peptides that can be rationally designed for nearly any cell surface receptor and have broad potential to treat and prevent a wide range of serious diseases with unmet clinical needs. SignaBlok is also developing a nanotechnology that enables targeted delivery of SCHOOL peptides and other therapies and/or imaging agents, aiming to improve efficacy, reduce dose, and allow image-guided therapy. Additional information about SignaBlok is available at