Personalizing Standard Chemotherapy And A Potential New Combination Treatment Strategy
This article was originally published in Start Up
A recent report shows that some cancer cells may be more sensitive to chemotherapy because their mitochondria are primed to undergo programmed cell death. An assay that identifies the start of the process could help optimize the use of traditional chemo. And novel agents not potent enough to be used against tumors on their own could selectively prime tumors in this way as part of combination therapy.
You may also be interested in...
In 1997, Abbott Lab's Steve Fesik showed how a complex between a survival protein and a cell death-inducing helix interacted, triggering a spate of apoptosis-oriented (programmed cell death) cancer research. Now a research team has identified a distinct and completely unforeseen site on a death protein that activates its cell-killing function, potentially kicking off a renaissance in this still challenging field.
Aileron Therapeutics engineers peptides that contain spiral confirmations called alpha helixes. These spirals are often unstable and fall out of shape--at least when manufactured in the lab. By placing a hydrocarbon staple between the turns in the spiral, Aileron's technology enables peptides to retain their stable conformation, and to arrive at their target destinations in active form. Many of the proteins involved in disease contain these alpha helix structures, and the ability to reproduce synthetic mimics would open up a multitude of therapeutic doors.
In February, Idun Pharmaceuticals became the fourth company acquired by Pfizer in the last 15 months. While those transactions reflect different mixes of product and technology breadth, they suggest a greater alignment between the interests of some private biotechs, their investors, and potential pharma company acquirers, as well as an evolution in the deal calculus for choosing M&A over an alliance or IPO.