Isolation of Focal Adhesion Kinase-specific Modulators

Period of Performance: 01/19/2006 - 02/18/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator


There exists a need to develop therapeutic strategies for the pharmacological modulation of angiogenesis to maintain force readiness. Angiogenesis is the development and growth of new capillary blood vessels from the existing vasculature. While increased vascularization of wounded tissue is essential for wound healing, increased angiogenesis is also critical in the progression of several pathologies including arthritis, diabetic retinopathy, and tumor proliferation. It is also an essential process underlying tumor growth and metastasis. Technologies that can modulate the process of angiogenesis are important to maintain the warfighter at full capacity. These technologies will have long reaching effects including reduced need for evacuation and convalescence leave; and reduced the cost of operations based on a decreased need for extended medical logistical support. Recent research suggests that focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activity is closely linked to angiogenesis. During the Phase I program, the Luna team discovered several natural extracts that contained specific FAK modulators. During the Phase II program, the Luna team will purify and identify the active component from each of the extracts that specifically influence FAK activity. Additionally, the efficacy of the FAK-specific modulators on cell migration and angiogenesis in cell-based assays will be determined, along with preliminary animal testing.