Genprex’s REQORSA™ Immunogene Therapy: The First Systemic Gene Therapy Used for Cancer
January 17, 2022
Genprex, a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing therapies for patients with cancer and diabetes, is a leader in gene therapy with a systemic gene therapy in development for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
A Systemic Gene Therapy for Cancer
REQORSA* is unlike other gene therapies, which either need to be delivered directly into tumors or require cells to be removed from the body, re-engineered and then reinserted into the body.
REQORSA consists of a TUSC2 gene expressing plasmid encapsulated in a non-viral nanoparticle made from lipid molecules (the ONCOPREX® Nanoparticle Delivery System) with a positive electrical charge. REQORSA is injected intravenously and specifically targets cancer cells. Cancer cells have elevated metabolism compared to healthy cells and as a result, are negatively charged compared to healthy cells, which are generally neutral and don’t have a charge. Thus, one method of targeting cancer cells is that the positive charge of REQORSA is attracted to the negative charge of cancer cells. In addition, malignant cells have a higher rate of taking in material from the extra-cellular environment, such as ONCOPREX Nanoparticles like REQORSA, than normal cells do.
REQORSA is designed to deliver the functioning TUSC2 gene to cancer cells while minimizing uptake by normal tissue. Tumor biopsy studies conducted at a major cancer research center in Houston, Texas show that, in the three patients examined, the uptake of TUSC2 in tumor cells after REQORSA treatment was much higher than in normal cells.
A Systemic Gene Therapy Platform
Genprex has a novel, systemic gene therapy platform to potentially treat cancer; the ONCOPREX® Nanoparticle Delivery System. The Company believes ONCOPREX is the first systemic gene therapy delivery platform used for cancer in humans.
This proprietary, non-viral platform, originally developed through collaborative research between a major cancer research center in Houston, Texas and the National Institutes of Health, has been optimized to work with Genprex’s initial product candidate, REQORSA.
The ONCOPREX platform can be used to deliver multiple tumor suppressor genes, with the potential to also be used in combination with targeted therapies or immunotherapies, to address and potentially treat multiple types of cancer.
The ONCOPREX Nanoparticle Delivery System is based on a non-viral delivery system. Most gene therapies rely on viral based delivery systems. The benefit of the viral system is that viruses are skilled at penetrating cells. However, viruses can also affect more than one type of cell and may infect additional cells, not just the targeted cells containing mutated genes. If this happens, healthy cells may be damaged causing other illness or diseases, such as cancer. Once REQORSA, is taken up by a cancer cell, the TUSC2 protein is expressed and can restore certain defective functions arising in the cancer cell. REQORSA has been designed using the ONCOPREX Nanoparticle Delivery System to deliver the functioning TUSC2 gene to cancer cells while minimizing their uptake by normal tissue. Normal tissues already have TUSC2 gene expression, so even when REQORSA is delivered to normal tissues it may have little effect.
*REQORSA is currently in development and is not FDA approved.
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Statements contained in this blog post regarding matters that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of management, are not guarantees of performance and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. These forward-looking statements should, therefore, be considered in light of various important factors, including those set forth in Genprex’s reports that it files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and which you should review, including those statements under “Item 1A – Risk Factors” in Genprex’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and and “Part II, Item 1A of Genprex’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2021”.
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