Genprex is Defining a New Immunogene Therapy that Could Change the Course of Cancer
September 16, 2019
Genprex, a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing potentially life-changing technologies for cancer patients, is raising the standard in cancer treatment by developing what it calls an “immunogene therapy,” which harnesses the power of immunotherapy’s immunomodulation through the delivery of a gene therapy.
Gene therapies and immunotherapies are two different types of treatment. Simply put, gene therapies insert a gene into a patient’s cells1while immunotherapies boost the body’s natural defenses to fight diseases, such as cancer.2 Genprex’s cancer fighting drug candidate for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Oncoprex™ immunogene therapy, is a gene therapy that also has immunomodulatory effects.
Oncoprex classifies as a gene therapy because it consists of a tumor suppressor gene that is injected intravenously and can specifically target cancer cells. As a gene therapy, Oncoprex works to fight off cancer by interrupting cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells. It also stimulates apoptosis, or the death of cancer cells.
Oncoprex also works as an immunotherapy because it modulates the body’s immune response against cancer. The TUSC2 gene, which is the active agent in Oncoprex, has been shown to upregulate Natural Killer cells, or NK cells. These NK cells are known for their ability to kill tumor cells.3TUSC2 has also been shown to downregulate PD-L1, or programmed cell death ligand-1, receptors. These receptors, which are also known as immune checkpoint proteins, can sometimes help cancer evade detection. TUSC2 works to downregulate, or suppress them, which helps the body’s immune system to fight against the cancer.
Genprex’s immunogene therapy is unlike the approved targeted gene therapies and immunotherapies available today. Because Oncoprex is a gene therapy with immunotherapy characteristics, it is poised and positioned to help NSCLC patients who cannot benefit from today’s treatment options.
*Oncoprex is currently in development and is not FDA approved.
- (2019). What is gene therapy?. [online] U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/genetherapy [Accessed 5 Sep. 2019].
- Cancer.org. (2019). Cancer Immunotherapy. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/immunotherapy.html [Accessed 5 Sep. 2019].
- Eissmann, P. (2019). Natural Killer Cells | British Society for Immunology. [online] Immunology.org. Available at: https://www.immunology.org/public-information/bitesized-immunology/cells/natural-killer-cells [Accessed 5 Sep. 2019].