Austin-based Mirna Therapeutics, Inc. recently announced that the company has published new preclinical data from its investigational drug, revealing the efficacy of therapeutic microRNA and how it can help researchers address drug resistance in cancer drugs, as well as increase the efficacy of single-gene targeted cancer therapy.
The new data, which was published in the online journal PLOS ONE, highlights microRNA-34 (miR-34) and an EFGR inhibitor that approved by the FDA to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) called erlotinib, revealing that they can work together synergistically to inhibit proliferation of certain erlotinib-resistant NSCLC cells and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells in vitro.
The insights came from the company’s current Phase I study of MRX34, which is Mirna’s mimic of the naturally-occurring tumor suppressor microRNA miR-34. Mirna has made frequent headlines with the development of MRX34, which currently represents the first microRNA replacement therapy product enter cancer-related clinical trials global level. The Phase I study, which is currently underway, focuses on patients with unresectable primary liver cancer or metastatic cancer with liver involvement — an approach that the company successfully secured patents for recently.
Andreas Bader, Ph.D., Mirna’s director of analytical and external research and senior author of the publication, commented that: “The ability of miR-34 to inhibit multiple cancer pathways is a likely explanation for restoring sensitivity of NSCLC and HCC cells to erlotinib. The observation that erlotinib also enhanced the therapeutic effects of the miR-34 mimic was unexpected and makes this combination a particularly promising therapeutic approach.”
“This study highlights the potentially broad application of miR-34 mimics, like MRX34, as an oncology therapeutic when used as a monotherapy or in combination,” said Paul Lammers, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Mirna. “We are focused on the clinical development of MRX34 as a cancer therapeutic, including identifying opportunities in which treatment with miRNA mimics can enhance the effectiveness of other cancer therapies.”
Both the National Institutes of Health, as well as a commercialization grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), have supported Mirna’s research efforts.