Novel Ferroptosis Inducers To Treat Cancer


Project ID: D2022-15


ferroptosis is a non-apoptotic cell death mechanism impelled by unrestrained accumulation of iron-dependent cellular reactive oxygen (ROS) species leading to membrane lipid peroxidation resulting from intra-cellular antioxidant depletion. Clinical application of ferroptosis agents/drugs has been elusive due to off-target effects leading to drug toxicity 11. Improved understanding of protein targets and the mechanism of action of ferroptosis agents can contribute to their successful clinical application. Thus, there is a need for novel nontoxic and highly selective ferroptosis agents.

Invention Description

Researchers at the University of Toledo developed a new class of ferroptosis inducers called CETZOLEs. Structure-activity relationship studies of these molecules led to the discovery of highly potent CETZOLE analogues. They were confirmed to be typical ferroptosis agents that induce cell death through ROS accumulation by cell rescue and flow cytometry experiments. It induces ferroptosis more selectively in mesenchymal cancer cells like HOP-62, NCI-H522, UACC-62 and A498, as opposed to epithelial cancer cells like HCT-116, HeLa and MCF7, which are less sensitive.


  • Cancer treatment


  • Effective at nanomolar to low micromolar concentrations
  • Possible solution to overcome cancer resistance

Lead Inventor:            Viranga Tillekeratne Ph.D., Samkeliso Dlamini Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Publication:                CETZOLE and CETZOLE Analogs as Highly Potent Ferroptotic Agents: Their Target Protein Identification Using Covalent/Affinity Probes. Manuscript in preparation.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katherine Pollard
Licensing Associate
The University of Toledo
Liyanaaratchige Tillekeratne
Samkeliso Dlamini
William Taylor