Project title: Harnessing ferroptosis initiating drugs to target GEP-NETs

Jeffrey Frost, PhD The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Jeffrey Frost, PhD
  • Status: Active
  • Year(s): 2023
  • Grant Type: Investigator
  • Research Type: Basic
  • Primary Tumor Site: Multiple

Project Description:

Dr. Frost and his team will investigate a novel way to kill neuroendocrine tumors using a class of drugs that may be especially effective against these tumor cells, which are resistant to most current cancer therapies. 

What critical NET problem will you try to solve through your research?

Neuroendocrine tumor cells are resistant to most cancer therapies, which target cell proliferation. Dr. Frost and his team will determine whether neuroendocrine tumor cells can be killed by combinations of drugs that cause oxidative stress. In addition, the team will investigate whether these drugs can be targeted specifically to neuroendocrine tumors by attaching them to Somatostatin Receptor Agonists (SSAs), which are commonly used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in neuroendocrine tumor patients.

Why is this important?

Currently, there are few effective therapies for neuroendocrine tumor patients. This work may demonstrate a new and specific way to target these tumors.

What will you do as part of this research project?

Dr. Frost and his team will identify combinations of drugs that kill neuroendocrine tumor cells by causing oxidative stress. They will then work out how to couple these drugs to SSAs while maintaining their tumor cell-killing activity. The team will then show that they are effective against neuroendocrine tumors in mouse models of disease.  

How might your research improve the diagnosis and/or treatment of NETs? 

Our research may uncover a novel way to target neuroendocrine tumors significantly more effectively than current therapies.

What is your next step?

Dr. Frost and his team will identify the most effective drug combinations against neuroendocrine tumor cell lines, work out how to conjugate them to SSAs to create targeted therapies, and test them against tumors grown in mice.

Additional Details

  • City: Houston
  • State: TX
  • Sponsor: The Carol DeBacker Charitable Trust


NETRF funds laboratory research to understand the development of neuroendocrine tumors and translational research to explore new concepts in treatment. Research grant descriptions and research updates from NETRF are not intended to serve as medical advice. It can take years for research discoveries to be fully validated and approved for patient care. Always consult your health care providers about your treatment options.

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