French bio-pharmaceutical company Onxeo and the Institut Curie have collaborated to launch a series of studies aimed to investigate the benefits of combining radiotherapy, DNA repair inhibitors and immunotherapy for cancer patients.
The combination is expected to make it possible to reverse the disease in patients suffering from drug-resistant cancers.
Onxeo acquired AsiDNA, a signal-interfering, DNA-repair-pathway inhibitor discovered by the Institut Curie last year. The inhibitor is based on the DBait technology.
Institut Curie Immunotherapy Center director Sebastian Amigorena said: “Patients for whom new immunotherapies are ineffective generally suffer from types of cancer that have low-level DNA mutations and do not produce neo-epitopes.
“These small, cancer-specific molecules, which carry the mutation of a gene specific to the tumour cell, set the immune system on high alert and propel it to track down the dangerous cells.”
More than 200 ongoing studies combining radiotherapy and immunotherapy are currently evaluating the effectiveness of the combination to treat various metastatic or advanced cancers such as lung, oesophagus, brain and prostate cancers, as well as melanoma, leukaemia and sarcoma.
The DRIM clinical study has been performed in patients with skin metastases from melanoma and demonstrated that AsiDNA was well tolerated by patients when administered locally.
Onxeo CEO Judith Greciet said: “We are very pleased with this new programme, which complements our ambitious development plan already in place and strengthens our collaboration with the Institut Curie.
“AsiDNA is a highly innovative new class of drugs that could ultimately result in a new cancer treatment paradigm.”
The drug simulates the signals sent by damaged DNA from tumour cells to recruit restorative enzymes and its mechanism of action have been developed by four centres of excellence from the French public research, led by the Institut Curie.