While chemotherapy is often effective in treating cancer, its taxing drug regimens can lead to debilitating side effects. But new research from Bind Biosciences may point to a way to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs directly to tumors, while avoiding many of the pitfalls of traditional treatment.
Bind, a 2008 Fierce 15 company, is using its nanoparticle drug delivery platform Accurin to deliver docetaxel with Bind-014. The Accurin particles are filled with tumor-killing docetaxel and coated with proteins that seek out cancer cells. Loads of the particles are injected into patients every three weeks, tracking down tumors and delivering the drug payload. Bind published some early results from a still-in-progress Phase I trial last week in Science Translational Medicine, finding that 6 of the study's 17 participants with advanced or metastatic cancers experienced slowed tumor growth or even shrinkage, with one patient's cancer almost disappearing.
While the research is still in very early stages, scientists are excited about the implications of delivering chemotherapeutic drugs directly to tumors. Researchers discovered that this method leads to 10 times the concentrated drug activity in tumors than through normal treatment. "If you try to get that concentration in a conventional form, you will kill the patient," said Omid Farokhzad, one of the study's authors and a co-founder of Bind, as quoted by the AFP.
Over the past decade or so, scientists have struggled to use nanoparticles to treat cancer, and Bind's early results could provide a way to maximize chemotherapy's effect while minimizing its toxic dangers. "The emerging Bind-014 clinical data showing signals of efficacy even at relatively low doses validates the potential for the revolutionary impact of nanomedicines and is a paradigm shift for the treatment of cancer," said researcher Philip Kantoff, as quoted by Scientific American.
Special Report: Bind Biosciences - Fierce's 5 Drug Delivery Companies to Watch
Startup gains funds to test tumor-targeting tech
Nanotubes jarred by lasers could wipe out stubborn breast cancer cells
Next-gen nanoparticles deliver cancer drugs at just the right moment