“Sweet-P”: Molecule for Targeting Human Glucocorticoid Receptor Beta in Cancer


Project ID: D2016-49



Glucocorticoids are the most prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. They are also used in cancer therapies, and for their protective properties against the toxic effects of chemotherapy. Glucocorticoids may, however, cause resistance to platinum-based chemotherapeutics, resulting in the proliferation of cancer cells. There are two isoforms of the glucocorticoid receptor (GRα & GRβ) that originate from a single gene. GRα is the hormone binding isoform and causes suppression of the immune system and reduces cancer cell growth. GRβ, on the other hand, does not bind glucocorticoids and causes hormone-refractory diseases. Studies have shown that GRβ is involved in the migratory process of astrocytes and the development of glioblastoma, as well as migration of bladder cancer in humans. It has also been shown that the effectiveness of glucocorticoids is reduced with a lower GRα/ GRβ ratio. Thus factors that reduce expression of GRβ influence the responses to glucocorticoids. 


Invention Description

Researchers from the University of Toledo have designed a new molecule, Sweet-P, that suppresses GRβ to inhibit the expression and migration of cancer cells. Sweet-P is the only anti-GRβ molecule for humans and has been shown to be useful in lung, bladder, and prostate cells, as well as increases responses to glucocorticoids and, attenuates bladder cancer migration.



•       The compound may be used for treating GRβ-related diseases including bladder cancer, prostate cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, glioblastoma, liver cancer, breast cancer, lupus and asthma


•       “Sweet-P” is the only compound that has been shown to regulate GRβ so far

•       “Sweet-P” can be synthesized through any method suitable in peptide nucleic acid (PNA) synthesis

•       The compound does not require an expensive or lengthy product development period


IP Status:       Patent Pending, WO2017155929


Publications:       1. McBeth L et al., Involvement of the androgen and glucocorticoid receptors in bladder cancer. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015, 1-10

                              2. Hinds TD Jr et al., Glucocorticoid receptor beta increases migration of human bladder cancer cells. Oncotarget. 2016 May 10;7(19):27313-24.

                              3.  Hinds TD Jr et al., Sweet-P inhibition of glucocorticoid receptor β as a potential cancer therapy. Cancer Cell Microenviron. 2016;3(3). pii: e1362. Epub 2016 Jul 5.



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katherine Pollard
Licensing Associate
The University of Toledo
Terry Hinds
Lucien McBeth
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