Leading cause of cancer-related death in Swedish men
In Sweden, prostate cancer (PC) is the most common form of cancer in men and approximately one in seven men under the age of 75 has or has had prostate cancer. Today most patients with early‐stage localized PC can be cured while the need for treatments that provide substantial overall survival or curative benefit in patients that have progressed to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) remains. For many of the patients diagnosed with CRPC, the cancer has spread beyond the prostate (i.e. metastatic CRPC).
Approximately 90 percent of all cancer patients die from their metastases, not the primary tumor itself. There is consequently a great need for drugs that prevent the formation of metastases, for example by blocking cancer cell invasion and suppression of already existing metastases in patients with, or at risk of developing, metastatic disease.
Prevention of an oncogenic TGF-ß signaling pathway
Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß) plays fundamental roles in controlling cell fate, heart function and immune response. In cancer cells, aberrant TGF-ß signaling is frequently associated with tumor progression and the formation of metastases. We have identified an oncogenic TGF-ß signaling pathway that can be targeted by antibodies to prevent local invasion and metastasis of PC cells. There are currently many ongoing drug development programs for PC, none of which are focused on our novel target.
Based on our research findings, we have developed a monoclonal antibody suitable for drug development in collaboration with SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform, Sweden. The antibody has been evaluated in our cell-based assays where it shows the desired effects. We are currently setting up experiments using a PC mouse model to demonstrate that metastasis of PC cells can be prevented by treatment with our antibody candidate
New anti-metastatic treatment for patients with aggressive prostate cancer
The patients that may benefit from our treatment are primarily those at risk of developing metastatic CRPC and men with metastatic CRPC. The antibody can potentially also be used to prevent metastasis in other cancer forms that utilize the oncogenic TGF-ß signaling pathway (e.g. breast, lung, kidney and endometrioid cancer).
The proposed treatment strategy aims to:
• Prevent metastasis of PC cells by specifically blocking an oncogenic signaling pathway.
• Improve the quality of life for patients diagnosed with CRPC.
• Increase survival in patients diagnosed with CRPC.
About the project
The product has been developed as part of the research performed by Professor Maréne Landström’s group at the department of Medical Biosciences, Umeå University. The project is a resident at UBI and is currently in the Verify I phase in the business development process.