Advanced Targeting Systems, the company that pioneered the targeting of specific cell types to manipulate them for the treatment of diseases and for research into the function of biological systems, has been awarded $3 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Representatives from the NCI stated that the proposal was ranked #1 for funding out of a nationwide program with hundreds of applicants. Advanced Targeting Systems will use the funds to advance its patented drug, SP-SAP, over the next two years to initiate clinical trials for cancer pain.
SP-SAP is a conjugate between the pain-processing peptide Substance P and the ribosome-inactivating protein saporin. The mechanism of action of SP-SAP is well characterized, a rarity in pain therapeutics: a small number of cells that process pathological pain signals is removed, causing relief that appears to be permanent. Normal acute pain is unaffected.
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the first population to undergo treatment with SP-SAP is terminal cancer patients who are resistant to opioids such as morphine. Pain due to cancer is a great fear, at times greater than even the fear of death, in the progression of the disease. To make matters worse, many times this pain is unresponsive to the last-stand treatment: opioids. There is also a common fear among terminal patients that current pain treatments will leave them unable to function normally at a time when it is personally extremely important for them. In preclinical tests, a single treatment with SP-SAP alleviated pathologic pain perception without affecting other sensory signal pathways.
Advanced Targeting Systems assembled a team of experts for this project, including: Dr. Art Frankel, leading expert on the use of targeted toxins in cancer (Scott & White Cancer Research Center); Dr. Allen Burton, author of over 60 publications on cancer pain (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Pain Medicine: sees over 10,000 cancer-related pain patients each year); and Dr. Dorothy Brown, toxicology consultant who led veterinary cancer pain studies in dogs with osteosarcoma (University of Pennsylvania). All regulatory aspects of the project will be spearheaded by the professional team at Cato Research, a full-service CRO with over 20 years of experience in drug development services, including CMC, clinical and regulatory strategies, as well as clinical trial support.
"I am gratified that the National Cancer Institute and the peer reviewers recognize the strength and quality of the 'Dream Team' of physicians, researchers and regulatory specialists that we have put together for this project," stated Dr. Douglas Lappi, Principal Investigator and President/CSO of Advanced Targeting Systems.
Advanced Targeting Systems, Inc.