Tumor therapy by blocking the heme synthesis-export axis

Technology description

Heme is crucial in processes that provide energy to cells, including cancer cells. The invention is based on a blocker of the “heme synthesis-export" system to counteract the development of the tumor mass and potentially of vessels/nerves that feed it. The blocker is represented by an inhibitor, already exploited in clinic with other use, of the heme biosynthetic enzyme ALAS1, or by a negative regulator of ALAS1 or of the heme exporter FLVCR1a. The approach does not imply the use of surgery and can, therefore, be useful also in cases diagnosed late, in elderly patients or with other comorbidities. In addition, unlike radiation therapy, cryotherapy and chemotherapy, it is potentially selective for the tumor, since the targeted process is increased in cancer cells, making them more dependent on it than normal cells. Finally, the approach does not depend on the presence/absence of specific mutations, as often occurs in case of targeted therapies; therefore, it is potentially applicable on multiple categories of patients and on different types of cancer.

  • Anti-tumor therapy in various types of cancer 
  • Anti-tumor therapy in cancer patients who cannot benefit from surgery (elderly, patients with comorbidities, late-diagnosed patients) 
  • Anti-angiogenic therapy in cancer patients 
  • Therapy of tumor-associated pain 
Key advantages
  • Unified approach against tumor and tumor-associated vessels/nerves
  • Several options for the blocker: ALA or shRNA, but potentially also siRNA, ASO, molecules, peptides
  • Selective for cancer
  • Administerable without the use of specific devices
  • Applicable to different categories of cancer patients
Filing date and application number

Filing date: 11/06/2021

Application number: 102021000015368



  • Università degli Studi di Torino