MSU and Venn Therapeutics develop promising therapy to delay B16 melanoma tumor growth

Michigan State University (MSU) researchers presented promising cancer therapy results at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) International Meeting in Washington, DC. This novel technology, AdVCA0848, activates the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway to delay tumor growth in a B16 melanoma model, promoting beneficial anti-tumor responses.

Supported by the immuno-oncology company Venn Therapeutics, this research (session MS.CL06.01 and abstract number 2994) is led by Dr. Andrea Amalfitano, Ph.D., D.O., Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Endowed Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at MSU, and Dr. Chris Waters, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at MSU.

Data showed that a single intra-tumoral treatment with AdVCA0848 rapidly inhibited tumor growth and significantly improved animal survival when compared to repeat dosing of an anti-PD1 checkpoint inhibitor. AdVCA0848 also generated high intracellular concentrations of STING agonists that were sustained over several days, reducing the need for multiple treatments. Previously published studies demonstrated that AdVCA0848 induces the production of multiple inflammatory cytokines, likely supporting the reported anti-tumor responses while showing little to no evidence of systemic toxicity.

"This research begins to demonstrate that AdVCA0848 is both a safe and potent stimulator of the STING pathway, and this unique combination promotes safe induction of impressive anti-tumor responses in vivo," said Dr. Amalfitano. "We are excited to further develop this novel immunotherapy and advance it rapidly to human clinical trials."

In general, these results provide evidence that AdVCA0848 is a novel, off the shelf STING agonist that can potentially improve anti-tumor responses in melanoma patients, either as a standalone therapeutic or in combination with currently approved therapies.

"These data are very encouraging. This research highlights a strong STING asset, as the characteristics of AdVCA084 overcome many hurdles that STING-targeting small molecules currently face," said Dr. Edith Janssen, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for Venn Therapeutics. "We are excited to take this asset into clinical trials for further development and improve therapeutic outcomes for cancer patients."

This research is made possible in part through sponsored research and licensed technology partnerships with Michigan State University.

"Partnerships with companies like Venn Therapeutics allow us to work together to move bright ideas to the marketplace and therapies to patients even faster," said Anne C. DiSante, CLP, Associate Director of MSU Technologies. "That's why translational research is remarkable: we can work collaboratively nationally, even internationally, to enhance human health and well-being."

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