Phylogica (ASX:PYC) has announced the outcome from an independent study undertaken by Dr Doug Fairlie, a cancer researcher based at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) and holding a joint appointment with La Trobe University.
Dr Fairlie showed that delivery of a novel “pro-death” peptide inside cells using Phylogica’s cell penetrating Phylomer (CPP) technology resulted in potent killing of lymphoma cancer cells. Similar results were observed when lymphoma cells were treated with a CPP linked to a drug (OmoMYC) targeting the MYC cancer protein.
According to Dr Fairlie, “Phylogica’s cell penetrating Phylomers are the most effective we’ve ever used to deliver peptides inside cells. Our peptides work by turning on 'suicide' pathways in cancer cells, causing them to die. This approach has been challenging until now due to the difficulties in delivery of peptides inside of cells where they are active.”
Dr Fairlie’s team said it also observed that a combination of the 'pro-death' peptide and OmoMYC both fused to CPPs improved the cancer killing activity of each drug by up to 600 per cent.
Phylogica’s CSO, Dr Paul Watt, said: “This study demonstrates the power of our technology to identify novel combinations of drugs that work better together than they do alone. This approach has already yielded the most potent inhibition of the MYC cancer protein every reported – an outcome that has major implications for increasing drug activity and reducing side effects in ways not previously possible.
“The finding that cell penetrating Phylomers linked to OmoMYC can kill lymphoma cells is also notable. Our current goal is to test the activity of our best-in-class MYC inhibitors in an animal model of lymphoma. Confirming that OmoMYC can kill lymphoma cells validates the choice of this animal model for testing the efficacy of drugs targeting MYC.”
In another development, Phylogica and ONJCRI have been awarded Research Connections and Research Partnership grants totalling $147,000 from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and La Trobe University respectively to expand their collaboration to develop 'Smarter Cancer Drugs'.
Phylogica’s CEO Richard Hopkins added, “We are very grateful for the funds awarded that recognise the promise of our collaboration. Phylogica is also delighted to be working with the ONJCRI, which is home to many of Australia’s leading cancer researchers and clinicians. The translational capacity of this institute is formidable as it integrates both basic and clinical research with 60-70 clinical trials in progress at any one time.”