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As the nation gets closer to what public health officials call the peak of COVID-19 infection, researchers and pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to find new ways to treat some of the sickest patients. A drug approved last July for the treatment of multiple myeloma may offer some hope. 

With expedited approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Karyopharm has launched a clinical trial testing low doses of Xpovio (selinexor) in COVID-19 patients. Xpovio is an oral, selective inhibitor of nuclear export (SINE) compound that blocks the cellu­lar protein XPO1. In cancer, XPO1 exports proteins out of the cell nucleus that

Dr. Rachid Baz

Dr. Rachid Baz, Director of Clinical Research, Malignant Hematology Department

“Because of its unique mechanism of action and in addition to its effects on cancer, selinexor has the potential to benefit patients with COVID-19. Such clinical trials are essential to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this approach,” said Dr. Rachid Baz, senior member and director of clinical research in Moffitt’s Department of Malignant Hematology.

Moffitt has been involved in the study of SINE compounds for more than 8 years. Researchers in Moffitt’s Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program performed some of the pre-clinical studies and participated in the early phase clinical trials that led to the FDA approval of Xpovio.