Radiotherapy on its own is an effective cancer treatment, but not all cancers are susceptible to radiation-induced DNA damage. Moreover, repeat treatments can harm normal tissues.
To make radiotherapy even more effective, scientists have a very tiny solution: nanotechnology.
Nanobiotix is a nanomedicine company that spun out of the State University of New York. One of their most advanced products is NBTXR3, an agent designed to enhance the effects of radiotherapy in cancer treatment.
Last week, Nanobiotix partnered with MD Anderson Cancer Center to launch a clinical trial testing the effectiveness of NBTXR3 against six different cancer types. Nanobiotix will be contributing $12 million in total to the project, while MD Anderson researchers will be leading the nine phase I/II clinical trials.
“It is important for Nanobiotix to collaborate with academic institutions to develop a broad spectrum of clinical trials in an expedited fashion,” said Dr. Thomas Morris, global head of development at Nanobiotix.
NBTXR3 comprises nanoparticles capable of penetrating cancer cells within a tumor, depositing high levels of energy. With the nanoparticles localized to the tumor, irradiation will be that much more powerful at destroying cancer cells.
Safety and efficacy studies for this agent have been in effect since 2012. In December 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an immuno-oncology trial to treat patients with metastatic lung and head and neck cancers, with a combination of NBTXR3 and checkpoint inhibitors. In April 2018, Nanobiotix agreed to work with MD Anderson to begin such testing. Last week’s announcement reiterates both organizations’ commitments to bringing nanotechnology and radiotherapy to the clinic.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our scientific and clinical understanding of the potential of NBTXR3 across the wide range of cancers treated with radiotherapy, with the goal of benefitting patients by applying novel research and bringing forward an innovative therapy,” adds Dr. Morris. “The collaboration between Nanobiotix and MD Anderson expands the number of NBTXR3 clinical trials to 16, illustrating our dedication to identify more effective treatments for cancer patients.”
In this new collaboration, approximately 340 patients with lung, head and neck, pancreatic, thoracic, gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers will be recruited and treated with NBTXR3 plus radiation at various intensities.