Advanced Targeting Systems, the company that pioneered the targeting of specific cell types to manipulate them for the treatment of diseases and for research into the function of biological systems, has been awarded $3 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Representatives from the NCI stated that the Advanced Targeting Systems proposal was ranked #1 for funding out of a nationwide program with hundreds of applicants. Advanced Targeting Systems will use the funds to advance its patented drug, SP-SAP, over the next two years to initiate clinical trials for cancer pain.
SP-SAP is a conjugate between the pain-processing peptide Substance P and the ribosome- inactivating protein saporin. The first publications of SP-SAP in the journal Science demonstrated a new direction for the understanding and treatment of pain pathology such as that which accompanies cancer. These have been followed by numerous publications from top- level scientists around the world delineating the activity of SP-SAP. The mechanism of action of SP-SAP is well characterized, a rarity in pain therapeutics: a small number of cells that process pathological pain signals are removed causing relief that appears to be permanent. Normal acute pain is unaffected.
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the first population to undergo treatment with SP-SAP is terminal cancer patients who are resistant to opioids such as morphine. Pain due to cancer is a great fear, at times greater than even the fear of death, in the progression of the disease. To make matters worse, many times this pain is unresponsive to the last stand treatment: opioids. There is also a common fear among terminal patients that current pain treatments will leave them unable to function normally at a time when it is personally extremely important for them. In preclinical tests, a single treatment with SP-SAP alleviated pathologic pain perception without affecting other sensory signal pathways.
Advanced Targeting Systems has assembled a team of experts to carry out the goals of the BRDG-SPAN project. Foremost among these are: Dr. Art Frankel from the Scott & White Cancer Research Center, Dr. Allen Burton from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. Dorothy Brown of the University of Pennsylvania. All regulatory aspects of the project will be spear-headed by the professional team at Cato Research.
“I am gratified that the National Cancer Institute and the peer reviewers recognize the strength and quality of a ‘Dream Team’ of physicians, researchers and regulatory specialists that we have put together for this project,” stated Dr. Douglas Lappi, Principal Investigator and President/ Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Targeting Systems.
About The BRDG-SPAN Program
The National Institutes of Health BRDG-SPAN Pilot Program (the Biomedical Research, Development, and Growth to Spur the Acceleration of New Technologies Pilot Program (RC3) is supported by funds provided to the NIH under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, a component of the Federal Stimulus Package. The purpose of this pilot program is to accelerate the transition of research innovations and technologies toward the development of products or services that will improve human health, help advance the mission of NIH and its Institutes and Centers (ICs), and create significant value and economic stimulus. The BRDG-SPAN pilot is intended to help address the funding gap, often called the “Valley of Death”, between innovative promising research and development (R&D) and transitioning those innovations to the market, by contributing to the critical funding needed by applicants to carry out later stage research activities and to pursue the next appropriate milestone(s) necessary to move a product/technology along a promising commercialization pathway. This program also aims to foster partnerships among a variety of research and development (R&D) collaborators.
About Advanced Targeting Systems (San Diego, CA)
Advanced Targeting Systems was founded in 1994 as a research reagent company. It has pioneered the use of Molecular Neurosurgery, the use of cell-specific targeting to Activate, Terminate or Stun cells for therapeutic or research purposes. The same principles are now being used by workers studying diabetes, immunology, cancer and other disease states.
About Scott & White Cancer Research Institute (Temple, TX)
The Scott & White Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a non-profit arm of Scott & White Healthcare, is designed to accelerate the development of new therapies for human diseases. Dr. Arthur Frankel heads CRI and is the leading expert on the use of targeted toxins in cancer, having served for more than 20 years in their clinical use.
About M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX)
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has been selected by US News and World Report, again, as the leading hospital in the United States for cancer treatment. Dr. Allen Burton is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pain Medicine at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center with over 60 publications on cancer chronic pain. He has joined the team to assist in protocol design and to direct the Phase 1/2 clinical study. Dr Burton’s department saw over 10,000 patients last year for cancer related pain.
About Cato Research (HQ: Durham, NC with locations worldwide)
Cato Research is a full-service contract research organization with 20 years of experience. Their highly-qualified team offers integrated drug development services, including CMC, nonclinical, clinical and regulatory strategies as well as clinical trial support for drugs, biologics, diagnostics and medical devices.