Midatech is developing a new form of cancer therapy based on nanomedicines combining validated chemotherapeutics, targeting molecules and gold nanoparticles. This new composition will enable highly toxic drugs to specifically target tumours, reduce side effects and enhance efficacy.
Midatech will focus on developing nanomedicines that utilise drugs which are near or off-patent to combine physician experience with optimized drug properties creating new composition of matter while mitigating clinical risk.
At present, three oncology projects (ovarian, brain and liver) are being pursued based on these same principles to optimize targeting and payload options. A variety of studies are underway to prioritize candidates.
This project focuses on the development of GNPs which carry a tumour-targeting agent, folic acid (FA) and a platinum cytotoxic compound, and is supported by a Spanish CDTI-grant. The targeting agent has been selected because ovarian carcinoma cells over-express the receptor for FA on their membranes and platinum is an effective cytotoxic for ovarian cancer.
Midatech has developed nanoparticles to specifically target the liver. Chemotherapeutics will be attached to liver-targeting GNPs and tested for effectiveness in liver cancer models. Selected chemotherapeutics under consideration as therapeutic payloads include: doxorubicin, docetaxel and camptothecin.
The Company has demonstrated the specific migration of GNPs to the brain. Optimization of the passage of GNPs through the blood-brain-barrier combined with chemotherapeutic agents will allow a new generation of therapeutic options for diseases such as glioblastomas.
Midatech is actively pursuing a therapeutic vaccine for non-small cell lung cancer based on its GNP technology. The programme is in the pre-clinical stage of development. Studies were started in 2010 linking tumour-specific antigens to GNPs and investigating their potential to induce specific cytotoxic T-cell responses.
A benefit of GNP-based vaccines is a demonstrated increase in T-cell killing while suppressing T regulatory cells to increase potency.