Advanced Cancer Therapeutics

Advanced therapeutics

GlobalAcorn’s cancer therapeutic platform is comprised of two technologies. The nanoparticle drug delivery platform has been created to deliver drugs to their target sites and, by either taking advantage of the local conditions, such as local chemistry or delivering exogenous changes, such as delivery of heat, thereby releasing them at the site where they need to be. In addition, the nanoparticle vehicles are labelled so that they can be visualised using standard clinical imaging technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The second platform technology is the creation of a novel class of bioactive molecules that can be designed to specifically target multiple important proteins involved in the growth of cancer cells. Because of the flexibility of this platform GlobalAcorn has been able to demonstrate activity against multiple therapeutic targets. GlobalAcorn’s nanoparticle delivery systems represent the ideal delivery vehicle for these bioactive molecules.

We have designed active and passively targeted lipid-based nanoparticles with varied chemical and physical properties, such as particle size, surface properties, ligand density, therapeutic payload and release profile, using a self-assembly nanoparticle formulation process. GlobalAcorn designs lipid-based nanoparticles with optimal performance properties using an interactive process that includes in vitro drug release, PK, tolerability, bio-distribution, targeting, controlled release and efficacy studies.

Advanced Cancer Diagnostics

Advanced diagnistics

Tumour detection and diagnosis are vital steps in cancer management. One method is by utilization of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which is among the best non-invasive techniques in clinical medicine for assessing the anatomy and physiology of the body. MRI is enhanced by use of a contrast agent to aid in tumour identification. Traditional imaging agents are not very effective in detecting primary metastatic tumours and cells due to a lack of both specificity and sensitivity.

Active tissue targeting is achieved by using targeting ligands on the surface of the nanoparticle that binds to specific cell surfaces of tissue markers. Passive tissue targeting nanoparticles take advantage of the unique pathophysiological characteristics of tumour vessels, enabling nanoparticle accumulation by ‘leaky’ vascularisation called the EPR effect (Enhanced Permeability and Retention). A targeted nanoparticle is also incorporated with an imaging agent, when engineered with a specific coating, bind particularly well to the tumour and could be a powerful tool for diagnosis. Lipid-based nanoparticles offer a very high potential to be used in combination with an MRI contrast agent due to their bio-distribution, biocompatibility and high loading benefits.

Pain Management

The neurophysiology of cancer pain is complex: it involves inflammatory, neuropathic, ischaemic and compression mechanisms at multiple sites. Knowledge of these mechanisms and the ability to decide whether a pain is nociceptive, neuropathic, visceral or a combination of all three will lead to best practice in pain management.

Traditional therapies are often only partially effective and until recently, knowledge of cancer pain mechanisms was poor compared with understanding of neuropathic and inflammatory pain states. Even with this increased knowledge, cancer pain management is still a severely unmet need.

Cancer pain

Opioids remain the mainstay of cancer pain management, but the long-term consequences of tolerance, dependency, hyperalgesia and the suppression of the hypothalamic/pituitary axis are acknowledged and, in addition to the well-known side effects such as constipation. NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), antiepileptic drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, NMDA (N-Methyl-D-Asperate) receptor antagonist, sodium channel blockers, topical agents and the neuraxial route of drug administration all have their place in the management of complex cancer pain. However, all suffer from modest efficacy, safety concerns, tolerability and addiction concerns.

GlobalAcorn is focused on developing a small molecule which blocks chronic pathological symptoms of pain by targeting the P2X3 receptors on nerves, which are ATP-gated ion channels found specifically on sensory neurons with an expression profile restricted to pain sensitisation. By blocking peripheral activation of these fibres that occurs when ATP is released from most cells by inflammation, injury, stress, and distension, and provide an alternative pharmacological mechanism to attenuate chronically sensitized signals. Treating pain by inhibiting P2X3 heralds an exciting new approach to cancer pain management, which offers the opportunity for first in a new class of drugs.