Treatment of invasive tumors with stroma-targeted precision drugs
Precision drugs, based on human monoclonal antibodies that target specific cancer–associated proteins in stratified patients, are changing cancer medicine. A handfull of therapeutic antibodies have already been approved by EMEA and FDA for several cancer indications and hundreds of human monoclonal antibodies are under preclinical or clinical development. Despite their clinical success, naked antibodies aimed at tumor antigens expressed on the surface of tumor cells, rarely show sufficient efficacy by themselves. Oncomatryx approach is focused on linking therapeutic antibodies to toxic molecules, in order to increase their potency. Small cytotoxic molecules and plant-derived recombinant toxins have been selected to create novel Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs). Since war was declared on cancer forty-five years ago, significant advances have been achieved in the prevention and treatment of early stages of cancer. However, little progress has been made in the development of efficient tools to fight late and invasive stages of cancer. The battlefield must be broaden. There is increasing evidence supporting the development of precision drugs that target not only tumor epithelial cells, but also the tumor microenvironment, the tumor-associated stroma: A complex, heterogeneous network of extracellular matrix, soluble cytokines, chemokines, and proteases, cancer-associated fibroblasts, endothelial and haematopoietic cells, which play a key role in tumor invasion, angiogenesis, metastasis, drug resistance and immune suppression. Oncomatryx therapeutic approach is focused on the development of novel recombinant human proteins, therapeutic antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates that target proteins located in the tumor microenvironment. A novel route to cancer treatment, directed not against tumor epithelial cells, but the stromal cells that promote their invasiveness, immune suppression and drug resistance.