Innovation: Therapeutics & drug discovery – Cancer Terminator Viruses for the targeted therapy of a diverse array of aggressive tumor types
Targeted Cancer(s): GBM Melanoma
Leadership: Paul. B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., President & CEO; Webster Cavenee, Ph.D.
Stage of Business: Approved for Matching Funds from VBHRC VA Catalyst Program leading to Phase I Clinical Trials
IL-24 (mda-7), and its next generation “Superkine”, are novel cytokines developed and being optimized by Interleukin Combinatorial Therapies (ILCT). Through genetic engineering the next generation of cancer-selective interleukin (cytokine)-based therapeutics; secreted proteins that can locate and destroy tumor cells in all parts of the body by directly promoting programmed and immunogenic cell death, inhibiting new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and sensitizing tumor cells to conventional therapies (including radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy), without inducing toxicity in normal cells or tissues. Through a process called “bystander antitumor activity” our unique engineered therapeutic interleukins (cytokines), ETCs (Enhanced Therapeutic Cytokines; NG.IL-24; Superkine), destabilize cancer cells resulting in direct killing or indirect toxicity through activation of the immune system and inhibition of angiogenesis.
The ETCs can be administered through vector-mediated delivery strategies (such as viruses), cellular-delivery (by means of T cells) or as pure therapeutic proteins. In addition, we have developed an innovative method, ultrasound-targeted microbubble-destruction (UTMD), to employ a ‘stealth’ delivery strategy permitting focused-targeting of therapeutics directly to tumors or the tumor microenvironment. Remarkably, the therapeutic efficacy of the cytokines against primary tumors and metastases (including bone metastases) can be enhanced further by combining them with radiation, chemotherapy or rationally-designed anti-cancer targeted drugs.