Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) has provided an update on results from a series of proof-of-principle experiments in mice that are exploring the interaction between Veyonda and radiotherapy in a novel treatment regimen known as DARRT (Direct and Abscopal Response to Radiotherapy).
According to the company, "An abscopal response is where radiation directed at a tumour in one part of the body leads to an anti-cancer response both in the irradiated tumour as well as in tumours elsewhere in the body. An abscopal response offers the opportunity to take a typical course of radiotherapy being used for palliative treatment, and to convert it into a treatment offering substantially greater pain relief and survival benefit through shrinkage of tumours generally throughout the body.
"An abscopal response has come to be regarded as a potentially transformative method of cancer therapy, offering the prospect of a significant anti-cancer effect with a minimally intrusive, well-tolerated treatment regimen. Noxopharm believes it is well-positioned to develop a world-leading position in this important and emerging field."
The DARRT regimen involves dosing the patient with Veyonda with the aim of achieving drug presence in all tumours and then directing a low dosage of radiotherapy at 1 or 2 individual tumours.
"The rationale is that the combination of Veyonda and radiotherapy in the irradiated tumours sets up inflammatory and immune responses that then spread throughout the body, leading to a general anti-cancer response throughout the body," said the company.
It said the pre-clinical (animal) studies will form an "important part" of submissions to various partners including clinical investigators, regulators and future strategic partners.
The company said it has collaborated with Australian-based academics to develop a bi-flank mouse model in which tumours are grown on both sides of a mouse, allowing radiation to be delivered in an isolated way to one side only.
It said the model has confirmed Veyonda alone has an anti-cancer effect on both tumours and radiotherapy alone has an anti-cancer effect on the irradiated tumour only, with no effect on the non-irradiated tumour.
The model also found the combination of Veyonda plus radiotherapy to one side delivered an anti-cancer effect on both sides, consistent with an abscopal effect.
This pre-clinical news comes at an important time for Noxopharm as it prepares for the release next week of the next round of interim clinical data from its DARRT-1 study concerning the 12 patients in the second arm of the study.
“Veyonda is being developed as a versatile therapy to enhance the effects of existing cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immuno-oncology drug therapy," said Noxopharm CEO, Dr Greg van Wyk.
"The DARRT program is the Company’s lead effort because it underpins the Company’s aspiration to make Veyonda an essential adjunct to radiotherapy in prostate cancer. Achieving clinically meaningful abscopal effects, particularly with a single short course of Veyonda and radiotherapy would provide compelling evidence of a treatment effect that the Company believes could transform the treatment of prostate cancer.”