U.S. Patent Awarded to Dr. Ellen Beswick
Jan 6, 2020 10:30 AMThe Department of Internal Medicine and the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition congratulates Dr. Ellen Beswick, PhD, on her new U.S. patent (#10,512,651) “Inhibition of MK2 in the Treatment of Cancer.” The patent was issued on December 24, 2019.
Dr. Beswick is the Associate Director of GI Research and the Director of the GI Tissue Bank in her division. She began working on MAP Kinase-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) as a potential novel treatment approach for gastrointestinal cancers (GI) in her previous position at University of New Mexico.
Work in Dr. Beswick’s lab has shown that inhibition of the MK2 pathway has critical anti-inflammatory and anti-cell proliferation properties, making it a promising new therapeutic target for GI and potentially other cancers. However, blockade of this pathway could have less side effects than other more broad anti-inflammatory approaches currently used clinically. She has published that small molecule inhibitors of this pathway are protective in 3 unique models of colon cancer. Furthermore, her group has shown relevance of this pathway to multiple human GI cancers and is linked with metastasis and poor outcome.
During her time at University of New Mexico, Dr. Beswick began to discover the previously unstudied role of this pathway in regulating the immune system and was encouraged to patent a small molecule treatment approach due to strong preclinical models. In moving to her current position, Dr. Beswick has continued to make progress in understanding immune regulation by this pathway that could be harnessed for other diseases. With her GI Division and made possible by the GI Tissue Bank, which she directs in collaboration with Dr. Kathryn Peterson, she has been able to progress in examining blockade of this pathway as a potential target for inflammatory bowel disease with potential in other inflammatory GI Diseases.
Developing the patent for the small molecule treatment approach has been the first step in progressing the treatment approach toward patients. She hopes to work closely with her colleagues in the GI Division and the Huntsman Cancer Institute to advance the treatment approach to clinical trial.