A Platform for the Tumor Specific Localization of Cancer Therapeutics
by Charles Seeney
(Houston, TX USA)
NanCogenics, Inc. (NCGI), a nanobiotechnology venture headquartered in Houston, TX, in a novel and innovative approach to localized drug delivery and enhanced therapeutics performance, has developed and validated in a preclinical setting, a nanobiotechnology-based platform for the tumor-specific targeting and localization of cancer therapeutics. The Company’s initial clinical focus is on a treatment modality for breast cancers, specifically triple negative and locally advanced breast cancers. The broadly applicable platform, distinctly different from historical attempts at magnetic targeting, employs a proprietary magnetic nanovector methodology for concentrating chemotherapeutic prodrug constructs within the tumor micro-environment where the prodrug is selectively cleaved to release the chemotherapeutic to generate a significant anti-tumor response. The magnetic nanoparticle prodrug constructs remain biologically inactive while in the blood stream, being cleared through normal channels without harm to healthy tissue. The Company is now in the process of advancing the technology on the clinical path and subsequent commercialization and is seeking partners to assist in moving the program forward. Revenue streams are anticipated as early as the third or fourth years of development through licensing and joint venture activities.
The emerging field of nanomedicine is projected to have a major impact on nearly every medical specialty, unveiling novel solutions to heretofore difficult problems in disease diagnosis, treatment and management, bringing significant improvements in therapeutic performance, patient survival rates and quality of life. Today, cancer mortality rates annually account for approximately one-fourth to one-third of all deaths in the United States. After forty years of R&D and associated clinical studies, at a cost to the Federal Government of over $100 billion, much of the optimism which accompanied the passage of the 1971 “War on Cancer” Act has faded, even as the knowledge and understanding of cancer biology and its complexities has increased.
There is an emerging realization that, despite much effort since the National Cancer Act of 1971, the prevailing approach to the development of targeted therapeutics has yielded too few clinical successes, and that the plasticity of tumors and the range of their mutations may undermine the basis for targeting individual signaling pathways. Thus, the need for improved tumor-directed delivery of both established therapeutic agents and those in the pipeline is becoming clearly reinforced.
An emerging demand exists for advanced treatment modalities, which can reach a broader population segment, that allow the full potential of cytotoxic drugs, and emerging treatment modalities, to be realized, while exhibiting minimal harmful side effects.
The effectiveness and limitations of cytotoxic drugs are both well-known and documented by physicians and patients alike. However, even though conventional systemic chemotherapy methodologies remain sub-optimal, a majority of the cancer patient population nevertheless continue to opt to undergo such treatment. Because the dosing level is limited to the patient’s ability to tolerate negative and often physically debilitating side-effects, and with patient noncompliance and drop-out rates as high as 20%, the overall patient population is unable to experience or benefit from the full effect of the drug’s potential.
Magnetic Localization for the tumor-specific concentration and extravasation of cancer therapeutics, as a clinical tool, has the potential to radically improve the efficacy of cytotoxic drugs through systemic administration, raising the therapeutic index, thus improving patient outcomes and quality of life.