Radiation- or ultrasound-activated drugs are being developed at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology program.

The National Cancer Institute and Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals signed a collaboration agreement to evaluate the latter’s Emulsiphan platform in combination with a new class of radiation- or ultrasound-activated cytotoxic agents developed at the NCI’s Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology Program.

Cornerstone’s Emulsiphan technology is a selective nanotechnology delivery platform designed to deliver anticancer drugs specifically to cancer cells even when administered systemically. The firm claims that the nonliposomal, stable oil-water lipid nanoemulsion is selectively taken up by cancer cells because it exploits the cells’ increased demand for nutrients, nonpolar lipids, and specific fatty acids.

Cornerstone is dedicated to the discovery and development of cancer therapies that exploit metabolic pathways that are common to different cancer types but different from normal cells and tissues. Its lead Emulsiphan candidate EmPAC, is designed to deliver paclitaxel.

In addition to Emulsiphan-based drugs, the firm is also developing anticancer candidates based on its Altered Energy Metabolism Directed (AEMD) small molecule drug platform. Candidates developed using this platform are designed to exploit biochemical alterations in the conversion of glucose to energy that occur in many types of cancer cells.

The firm claims that its Thioctan class of AEMD drugs has been shown to perturb the activity of key metabolic and regulatory processes involved in cancer energy production, leading to cell death in a wide spectrum of human tumor cell types, including those that are resistant to traditional chemotherapeutic agents. Lead Thioctan drug candidate, CPI-613, is in Phase I/II clinical trials, and has been granted orphan drug status by the U.S. FDA for pancreatic cancer.

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