Anji scientists recognized that if the HCK protein could be switched “off”, leukemic stem cells would lose a key survival mechanism, and chemo-resistant cancers would now become vulnerable. ANJ114 is the outcome of a structure-based optimization effort and will be clinically evaluated in hematological malignancies and certain lymphomas.
Following chemotherapy, leukemic cells can hide in the protective environment of bone marrow - rendering even the most powerful agents ineffective. An enzyme called HCK (hematopoietic cell kinase) has recently been shown to direct cancerous cells into hiding.
Gene transcriptional analysis of patient-derived leukemic stem cells also identified HCK as a master switch that turns “on” during the refractory or relapse stages of acute myeloid leukemia. Importantly, HCK is only found in developing blood cells, which enhances the likelihood of clinical safety with an HCK inhibitor.
Hematopoietic Cell Kinase (HCK) Is a Player of the Crosstalk Between Hematopoietic Cells and Bone Marrow Niche Through CXCL12/CXCR4 Axis
Identification of the SRC-family tyrosine kinase HCK as a therapeutic target in mantle cell lymphoma