The growth and survival of prostate cancer tumors relies primarily on the functioning of the androgen receptor signaling pathway. This pathway is activated by the binding of male hormones, or androgens, such as testosterone and DHT, to androgen receptors in prostate cancer cells. The first line of treatment for prostate cancer involves “androgen deprivation therapy”, which results in the reduction of testosterone levels to those that are similar to the levels found in men who have been surgically castrated. While most men initially respond to currently available androgen deprivation therapies, those therapies have an impact on their quality of life. We believe that a new drug that potently and selectively degrades the androgen receptor could provide significant clinical benefit and enhance quality of life for patients with prostate cancer and other diseases dependent on androgen receptor signaling.
Under a license from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Tokai has a drug discovery platform, known as ARDA (androgen receptor degradation agents), which enables us to identify and develop novel compounds designed to have potent androgen receptor degradation activity. Assessment of future plans for the ARDA platform are underway.