London, UK, Lausanne, Switzerland, 24 September 2015 MRC Technology and the University of Lausanne are collaborating to find new drug treatments for diffuse large B cell lymphoma, the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

MALT1 (Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma translocation protein 1), an immunomodulatory enzyme, is required for the effective triggering of an immune response. However, dysregulation of MALT1 is also associated with some subsets of lymphoma, including diffuse large B cell lymphoma, suggesting that MALT1 could be a promising drug target for these types of cancer.

Professor Margot Thome-Miazza, Associate Professor, University of Lausanne said: “We have previously identified a novel way of regulating the catalytic activity of MALT1 via a protein modification called ubiquitination.  We are now working with MRC Technology to harness this regulatory mechanism and discover small molecule inhibitors that specifically interfere with the ubiquitin-linked form of MALT1.”

Justin Bryans, Director, Drug Discovery, MRC Technology said: “It is encouraging that we can build on the work of the University of Lausanne and bring new treatments to patients. These drugs could potentially also treat other types of lymphoma associated with MALT1 over-activity, for example MALT lymphoma and Mantle Cell lymphoma.”

Céline Lafourcade, Licensing Manager at Powering Academia-industry Collaborations and Technology Transfer (PACTT) explained: “MRC Technology with its unique capabilities constitutes an ideal partner to further develop this innovative technology emanating from academic research.”

MALT1 inhibitors may also have wider therapeutic applications owing to MALT1’s role in immune regulation, and could potentially be used to limit overactive immune reactions in autoimmune diseases.

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