One direction of my research program is to screen for novel chemical compounds that will affect necroptosis. These inhibitors could potentially serve as new therapeutic agents. They will also be used as chemical probes to discover new biology, similar to the way NSA was used to discover MLKL.
Major effort in the lab has been devoted to identify necroptosis inhibitors, in order to prevent organ damages induced by excessive necroptosis. Recently we have also started to screen for chemical compounds that will kill cancer cells by specifically activating necroptosis. We have obtained several compound sources. (1) A 200,000 compound library here at UT Southwestern high-throughput core. (2) Small molecule libraries from the National Cancer Institute Open Chemical Repository. (3) FDA-approved compound libraries from commercial sources. (4) Natural products from Chinese Traditional Medicine Herb extracts through collaboration. Many compounds have been identified and their mode of action and potential targets are under active research.