EpiAxis Therapeutics in new agreement with US research hospital

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Australian epigenetics company EpiAxis Therapeutics has signed a material transfer agreement (MTA) with Seattle Children’s Research Institute in the US that aims to help researchers study a new approach to treating paediatric brain cancer.

Epigenetics is the study of how behaviours and the environment can cause changes that affect the way genes work. It is believed that epigenetic changes are reversible.

As part of the agreement, EpiAxis Therapeutics will supply its lead peptide candidates for assessment in the laboratory of Dr Myron Evans.

Dr Evans is a principal investigator at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The goal is to inform the development of new brain tumour treatments that are more targeted than current therapies, with fewer side effects.

“Using novel inhibitors against LSD1 as a treatment for paediatric brain tumours has the potential to enhance efficacy, which could bypass a number of problems associated with existing chemotherapy and radiotherapy,” said EpiAxis Therapeutics CEO Dr Jeremy Chrisp.

“Our first-in-class assets at EpiAxis Therapeutics have dual action and target dormant chemotherapy-resistant cells while also improving the immune response against the persisting cells.

“EpiAxis is very pleased to be supplying our lead peptides candidates to Seattle Children’s in hope of accelerating innovation in the treatment of paediatric brain cancer.”

Dr Evans' research program focuses on epigenetic regulation in central nervous system development and how deregulation contributes to paediatric brain tumours.

“For pediatric tumours, deregulation of normal epigenetic processes is central to tumour formation and provides novel avenues for targeted cancer therapy,” said Dr Evans. “ We are excited to work with EpiAxis to evaluate their peptides in the lab, and hopefully pursue them as novel therapies for children.”