Screening for Inhibitors of Bcl-2-IP3R Interaction.  Lead Investigator:  Clark W. Distelhorst, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.


          The Foundation has awarded a grant to Case Western Reserve University to fund research supervised by Dr. Clark W. Distelhorst, M.D.  Dr. Distelhorst, and other researchers working with him, are investigating a means to prevent the Bcl-2 protein from inhibiting the death of CLL cells.  The Bcl-2 protein is produced by the Bcl-2 gene and promotes the proliferation of CLL cells by interfering with their death.  This fact reduces the effectiveness of drug treatments for CLL and for other Bcl-2 positive malignancies such as lymphomas.

          Dr. Distelhorst and his team are investigating the interaction between the Bcl-2 protein and a calcium channel receptor.  They have developed a decoy peptide that binds to the Bcl-2 protein, disrupts the interaction between the protein and the receptor, and promotes the death of CLL cells.  The funds provided by the Foundation will enable Dr. Distelhorst to investigate thirty-nine drug like compounds to determine whether the compounds induce the death of CLL cells by disrupting the interaction between the Bcl-2 protein and the calcium channel receptor.  Compounds that are found to do so will be considered for development as drugs and for further testing.