D&D Pharmatec announced today that it is collaborating with Yale to optimize two approaches to treating brain cancer and other disorders.
The sponsored research agreement is slated to work with two novel approaches that allow immune system cells and drug molecules to bypass the blood-brain barrier (BBB) when treating brain cancer, among other diseases, according to a news release.
Yale’s team developed an approach in which vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) is leveraged to stimulate the growth of lymphatic vessels in the brain. Studies performed with the administration of VEGF-C into the cerebrospinal fluid of mice with glioblastoma resulted in the migration of immune system T cells into tumors, rapid clearance of the tumors and a long-lasting anti-tumor memory response. Combined with an immune system checkpoint inhibitor, the treatment significantly extended the survival of the mice.
The second approach seeks to address shortcomings related to pathways and drug delivery platforms that are currently being explored as solutions to overcome the BBB. Existing options are limited by the molecular weight of the therapeutic being delivered or they use unnatural disruption of the barrier which can increase the risk of unwanted side effects.
“The bottleneck of effective treatment for brain cancer and other diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) is not the discovery of pharmacologically-active compounds, but the lack of a safe and effective method of delivery to the brain,” D&D Pharmatech president & CEO Seulki Lee said in the release. “The new approaches the team at Yale is exploring to bypass the BBB offer the potential to address some of our most challenging diseases.”
Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will serve as the principal investigator for the collaborations.
“We are excited to partner with Dr. Iwasaki and her team at Yale to develop promising approaches to treat brain cancer and other debilitating CNS diseases for which there are no viable treatment options” Lee added. “D&D’s pipeline of therapeutic and diagnostic candidates represent breakthrough science from leading academic institutions and visionary researchers. We look forward to collaborating with the Iwasaki lab to build on their impressive results and expand our pipeline.”