Endocyte, Inc. and National Cancer Institute Establish Collaborative Research and Development Agreement to Develop Vitamin-Targeted Anticancer Therapy
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 12 /PRNewswire/ via NewsEdge Corporation -- Many potent anticancer drugs are never given to patients because of severe side effects. The need to find ways to target these chemotherapeutic agents to cancer cells and avoid normal cells and the associated severe side effects has lead to the signing of a letter of intent for a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and Endocyte to research and develop the use of the vitamin folate to target anticancer drugs.
Someday, the vitamin folate may be used to diagnose and treat cancer. Rapidly dividing cancer cells employ a special receptor to increase their uptake of folic acid, a vitamin required for cell division. Endocyte Chief Science Officer, Dr. Philip S. Low, said: "We know that many types of cancer, especially cancer that have spread throughout the body, over-express a receptor for folate acid. Folic acid is required for cell division and it is assumed that this receptor is used by cancer cells to capture the folate needed to support the cancer cells rapid growth. By linking anticancer agents to the vitamin folate, folate can be used to targeted and delivered anticancer drugs directly to cancer cells. "
Endocyte, Inc. and the National Cancer Institute have signed a letter of intent to enter into a collaborative research and development agreement to develop new folate-targeted anticancer drugs. Under the collaborative research agreement Endocyte will access compounds from the National Cancer Institute's repository of anticancer drugs. Endocyte will link the anticancer agents in the repository to the vitamin folate and both the NCI and Endocyte will jointly test the new targeted drugs. Ron Ellis, President of Endocyte, said: " There are many drugs that are highly toxic to cancer cells, but have failed in human clinical trials because the drug exhibited severe side effects. By using folate to target these drugs to cancer cells and avoid the normal cells, we hope to be able to resurrect these very potent anticancer compounds, with the NCI's help, as viable and effective cancer drugs."
Endocyte, Inc. has an exclusive worldwide license to Purdue University's patents on the use of vitamins for cellular targeting and uptake. The first vitamin-targeted agent, a folate-targeted diagnostic imaging agent has begun human clinical trials with ovarian cancer patients. The diagnostic imaging agent is designed to allow clinicians to determine whether a mass is benign or malignant and locate metastatic cancer sites in the body.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the Government's principal agency for cancer research and training. The National Cancer Institute coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and their families.