Tumor Targeting by Small Molecule Therapeutics for a Proton-Coupled Folate Transporter (PCFT)

Case ID:

WSU and Duquesne University scientist have isolated a unique series of pyrrolopyrimidine antifolate analogs that show selective cytotoxicity toward solid tumors such as ovarian, prostate or breast cancer cells that express the low pH “proton-coupled folate transporter” (PCFT). The acidic pH optimum (pH 5.5-6.5) of PCFT makes it an ideal target since many solid tumors exist in an acidic environment.

Commercial Applications

·         Antitumor drugs that target tumors expressing PCFT

·         Treatments for ovarian, prostate, and breast cancers

Competitive Advantages

·         Cancer treatments that are less toxic and target solid tumor cells

·         Our analogs are similar to the clinically used antifolate pemetrexed (alitima) in their transport activity for PCFT.  However, pemetrexed is also an excellent substrate for RFC which compromises its potential tumor selectivity.  Our technology is the only known cytotoxic folate analogs that are selective for PCFT over RFC. 

Patent Status

A patent application and PCT is on file.

Tech ID


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joan Dunbar
Associate Vice President for Technology Commercialization
Wayne State University
(313) 577-5542
Larry Matherly
Aleem Gangjee
Analog or Analogue
Breast Cancer
Cancer Therapies
Drug Delivery
Ovarian Cancer
Prostate Cancer