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Galina Lepesheva, Ph.D.

Research Professor, Department of Biochemistry

In the area of cancer research, the Lepesheva laboratory studies human sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) as a potential target for anticancer chemotherapy. The work is supported by NIH (GM067871) and is based on the idea that cancer cells can be viewed as eukaryotic parasites multiplying uncontrollably within the human body. For fast multiplication they need to produce larger amount of endogenous cholesterol, and cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, are currently in clinical trials as anticancer agents. We have shown that our experimental inhibitor of human CYP51, VFV, slows down growth of different types of cancer cells, have solved the X-ray structure of the enzyme in complex with VFV (Hargrove et al, J. Lipid Research, 2016, PMID:27313059) and are now working on the structure-based design, synthesis and testing of stronger inhibitors.