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Advanced Solid Tumor Precision Meds. Trial Begins

Brain tumor graphic

(National Science Foundation)

Updated 22 Sept. 2020. A clinical trial is underway testing a treatment for advanced-stage cancers that blocks amino acids allowing nutrients to feed the growth of solid tumors. The early-stage study is sponsored by biotechnology company Quadriga BioSciences Inc. in Los Altos, California testing its lead experimental therapy code-named QBS10072S.

Quadriga BioSciences develops cancer therapies targeting a class of amino acids called transporters, found on the surface of tumor cells. Transporters, says Quadriga, promote the flow of nutrients into tumor cells, allowing tumor cells to grow and proliferate, thus feeding the cancer’s progression. Because these transporters are found only on cancer cells, treatments can precisely target these amino acids, and spare surrounding cells and tissue from adverse effects.

QBS10072S is an amino acid analog that addresses a transporter known as L-type amino acid transporter 1, or LAT1, an amino acid found highly expressed in proliferating cancer cells. LAT1 serves as an entry point for nutrients to maintain tumor growth and development, and found active in a wide variety of solid tumor cancers, both the more common types such as breast and lung cancer, but also less frequent but still deadly cancers such as brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma. At the same time LAT1 is rarely expressed on healthy cells and tissue.

After targeting LAT1, QBS10072S is transported by LAT1 into the tumor cell and thus, selectively delivers its cancer-killing payload. Quadriga BioSciences says its preclinical studies show QBS10072S limits tumor growth and improves survival in lab animals induced with triple-negative breast cancer and brain tumors, such as glioblastoma multiforme. In addition, those studies show QBS10072S given intravenously accumulates in glioblastoma multiforme tumors, indicating QBS10072S is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, usually an obstacle to brain tumor treatments.

The clinical trial is enrolling 50 participants with advanced or metastatic solid tumor cancers at two sites in Australia, with the first participant now joining the trial, according to the company. Patients with a wide range of solid tumor cancers having high LAT1 expression are eligible to take part. The trial is designed to allow for incremental increases in dosage in separate groups of participants every four weeks, testing the safety of QBS10072S in terms of adverse effects, to find the maximum tolerated dose. The study team is also measuring concentrations of QBS10072S in the patients’ blood over 28 days as an indicator of activity in the body.

“Today’s announcement,” says Quadriga BioSciences CEO Gordon Ringold in a company statement released through Cision, “marks the initiation of the first-in-class LAT1 targeted cancer clinical program for the company.” Ringold adds, “We believe this program has the potential to significantly help patients with brain metastases and those with late-stage astrocytoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme.”

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