Pharma Focus Asia

Telix Pharmaceuticals, University of Melbourne and Peter Mac to Collaborate on Colorectal Cancer

Friday, August 24, 2018

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited has today announced a research collaboration with the University of Melbourne to investigate the use of targeted radiopharmaceuticals or “molecularly-targeted radiation” (MTR) to provide improved treatments for colorectal cancer patients.

The collaboration will be led by Associate Professor Frederic Hollande (University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research) and Professor Alexander Heriot (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre).

The research program will explore the role of a tumour associated antigen, carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), in metastatic colorectal cancer. CAIX could be used as a potential pathway for new and more targeted diagnostic and therapeutic applications of Telix’s TLX250 (Girentuximab) program, currently under development for renal cancer. As with many cancers, high expression of CAIX in colorectal cancer tumours is a prognostic indicator for poor outcomes for patients treated with the currently available therapies.

Telix’s Director of Research and Development, Dr. Michael Wheatcroft, stated, “As part of our ongoing R&D strategy, we are committed to exploring potentially new indications for our programs. TLX250 imaging and therapy has potential in colorectal cancer where conventional radiation oncology strategies can be more limited, particularly for highly invasive disease. Using PET to more accurately stage patients and then deliver molecularly-targeted radiation to very sensitive tissues could prove to be a better option for patients than external beam radiation.”

Professor Heriot noted: “Around 25 percent of colorectal cancer patients initially present with metastatic disease, and another 25 percent will develop subsequent metastases after being originally treated for a local stage of the disease. Unfortunately, over 80 percent of patients presenting with metastatic disease have unresectable metastases and systemic chemotherapy remains insufficiently effective to treat these patients, resulting in a very poor survival outlook. There is therefore a pressing need for alternative approaches to better target and treat these metastatic tumours.”

Associate Professor Hollande added: “This pilot research project will more precisely explore CAIX expression in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer by correlating immunohistochemistry and RNA profiles of surgical resection specimens. This will enable us to understand how CAIX expression changes as a function of tumour growth, including through the study of organoids grown in the lab from actual patient metastasis samples.”

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