Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Umesh R. Desai

Second Advisor

Bhaumik B. Patel

Third Advisor

Martin Safo

Fourth Advisor

Sandro Da Rocha

Fifth Advisor

Jiong Li


Glycosaminoglycans have long been used a clinically relevant and essential medicines to improve quality of life and treat disease, with heparin/heparan sulfate polymers and oligomers being the most infamous. Decades of research into these molecules have shown their involvement in various disease states outside of the cardiovascular system, with both structural and functional roles in immunological, neurological and oncological disorders. In regard to cancer, many novel targeted therapies have emerged both as small molecule drugs and biologics that actively target and destroy tumor cells with greater precision than ever before. Despite this, many patients will relapse and their tumors will reconstitute within a few years. In this work, we attempt to characterize the molecular targets of a group of novel non-saccharide glycosaminoglycan mimetics that actively target stem-like cancer cells which are residual following traditional therapy and cause this relapse. We believe our work shows that GAG mimetics are clinically relevant therapeutic agents with the promise to reshape our thinking in how we treat the tumor microenvironment and prevent cancer relapse in patients who can live longer and healthier lives.




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Available for download on Saturday, July 01, 2028