Darren Carpizo, MD
Rutgers University Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers, NJ
Dr. Carpizo’s research is focused on developing a new class of therapeutics that will target one of the most common genetic mutations in human cancer.
Darren Carpizo MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Surgery, Surgical Oncology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Dr. Carpizo and his team are studying mutations of the gene TP53 in human cancer as a potential therapeutic target. The TP53 mutation, one of the most frequent mutations occurring in cancer, allows uncontrolled proliferation of cells, a hallmark of tumor formation.
Normal p53 binds a zinc ion that is necessary for the protein’s proper structure and function. Mutated p53 impairs the protein’s zinc-binding ability, causing p53 to mis-fold and lose its normal function. Dr. Carpizo and his team were the first to identify NSC319726 (726) as a mutant TP53 reactivator and a lead compound for targeted drug development. 726 donates a source of zinc to p53, allowing the mutant protein to properly refold. This zinc-metallochaperone mechanism is novel for an anti-cancer drug.
Dr. Carpizo proposes to design and synthesize a potent 726 analog that will be a specific mutant p53 reactivator, optimize its pharmacokinetics and conduct in vivo studies of the analog to determine dosing, pharmacodynamics and efficacy. This research will advance development of one of the first targeted mutant p53 anti-cancer drugs.
Dr. Carpizo earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed a residency in Surgery and a PhD in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, New York.