Brain Tumor Initiating Cell Targeting
MetaMx is composed of novel, synthetic peptides that target and attach to BTICs and invasive glioma cells, for the purpose of imaging, diagnosis and developing targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes and survival rates among glioblastoma patients.
Arch researchers have developed a library of unique peptides called “MetaMx” that specifically target brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs). The lead inventors of MetaMx are Dr. Stephen Robbins, Dr. Donna Senger and Dr. Jennifer Rahn at the University of Calgary.
In BioMaterials, Sept. 2020 Arch Scientists published a paper demonstrating ongoing research with MetaMx peptides. The paper identified a specific series of peptides with utility as an innovative platform to assist in targeting glioblastoma for the purpose of diagnostic or prognostic imaging, image-guided surgery, and/or improved delivery of therapeutic agents to glioblastoma cells implicated in disease relapse.
Targeting disease reservoirs of Malignant Glioma
Proof of principle studies have confirmed that MetaMx effectively identifies human brain tumor disease reservoirs. Arch scientists have achieved the imaging of human glioma cells and BTICs in mice using magnetic resonance imaging and the program continues to be under development.
Worldwide, there are approximately 70,000 new patients with malignant glioma each year and clinical outcomes for these patients have not changed substantially over the past 30 years. Average survival rates remain at a dismal 12-15 months and long term survivors (i.e. those surviving more than 3 years) are rare.
This poor survival rate is linked to brain tumour initiating cells (BTICs) and invasive glioma cells which represent disease reservoirs that are not detectable using current diagnostic techniques as they are indiscernible from normal tissue. As a result, these cells are usually left behind in brain tissue post surgery and often lead to tumour relapse and poor patient outcomes.
Therefore, a significant unmet medical need and commercial opportunity is the ability to target BTICs and invasive glioma cells for the purpose of imaging, diagnosing and developing targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes and survival rates.