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MCW, French Researchers are Inventors of US Patent for Mito-Magnolol Compounds to Treat Melanoma

Collaborators in the Department of Biophysics – Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD, Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research and chair; Jacek Zielonka, PhD, DSc, assistant professor; and Gang Cheng, PhD, assistant professor – as well as Micael Hardy, PhD, and Olivier Ouari, PhD, of Aix-Marseille Université, France, are inventors on MCW’s recently awarded US Patent 11,083,739 for Mito-Magnolol Compounds and Methods of Synthesis and Use Thereof.

This patent pertains to mitochondria-targeting cationic drugs, specifically mito-magnolol compounds, and methods of using these compounds to overcome drug resistance including kinase resistance in melanoma, one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancers, for which there are no effective drugs for prolonged treatment.

Mito-magnolol is a synthetic compound developed by adding a mitochondria-targeting molecule, triphenylphosphonium, to the naturally occurring polyphenol. Magnolol is the most abundant bioactive component of magnolia extract, a traditional herbal formula used effectively for centuries in East Asia to treat multiple inflammatory diseases. One advantage of magnolol is its ability to be modified into a single monosubstituted isomer that is easily separated and purified, enabling synthesis of large quantities of mito-magnolol. The novel mito-magnolol compounds are selective inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation in tumor cells, and they induce apoptosis and inhibit melanoma cell proliferation.

In a recent collaborative publication with Dr. Michael Dwinell’s laboratory, it was shown that mito-magnolol inhibits tumor growth in a murine melanoma model and promotes anti-tumor immunity.

The MCW Office of Technology Development facilitated the effort that led to patent protection of this novel compound with the promising anti-tumor potential in drug-resistant melanomas.