Genprex Inc (NASDAQ:GNPX) announced Monday that its collaborators from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented positive preclinical data linked to the clinical-stage gene therapy company’s Oncoprex immunogene therapy for the treatment of a major type of lung cancer at the American Association of Cancer Research meeting.
In 2018, Genprex cemented a key research agreement with MD Anderson for the development of a cancer treatment using TUSC2 (Tumor Suppressor Candidate 2), the active agent in its flagship product Oncoprex in combination with immunotherapies.
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Research has demonstrated that TUSC2 is a powerful tumor suppressor gene and has fewer side effects with less toxicity than other lung cancer drugs and can be administered systemically to cancer patients.
In layman’s terms, Oncoprex is basically the TUSC2 gene wrapped in a cholesterol nanoparticle that is engineered to target cancer cells.
At the American Association of Cancer Research meeting, MD Anderson shared a poster titled, “Development of an improved humanized patient-derived xenograft, Hu-PDX, mouse model for evaluation of antitumor immune response in lung cancer.”
The poster demonstrated that TUSC2 combined with a checkpoint blockade was more effective than a checkpoint blockade alone in increasing the survival of mice with human immune cells that had metastatic lung cancer. The data showed that TUSC2 treatment with the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab “slowed tumor growth significantly.”
Pembrolizumab previously had no effect on tumor growth in non-humanized mice. The data also demonstrated the Hu-PDX model as an improved platform for evaluation of immunotherapy.
“This sophisticated model gets one step closer to recapitulating certain functions of the human immune response within a manageable scientific animal model and allows us to further test our hypotheses of how a more complex immune system could interact with aggressive cancers when primed by drugs, such as Oncoprex, in humans,” said Genprex Chief Operating Officer Julien L Pham in a statement.
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Pham said the data supported and solidified existing preclinical data showing that Oncoprex immunogene therapy is “synergistic with anti-PD1 therapy and could result in a stronger antitumor response” compared to either agent alone.
“It also demonstrates how Oncoprex could be used in combination with other immunotherapies as a viable treatment option for late-stage non-small cell lung cancer,” said Pham. “This sophisticated model gets one step closer to recapitulating certain functions of the human immune response within a manageable scientific animal model and allows us to further test our hypotheses of how a more complex immune system could interact with aggressive cancers when primed by drugs, such as Oncoprex, in humans.”
Genprex is a clinical-stage gene therapy company, which boasts Oncoprex, a flagship treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. Oncoprex works partly by interrupting the cell signaling pathways that prompt cancer cells to multiply as well as controlling the immune response against cancer cells.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]