Independent Researchers Find Genprex’s TUSC2 Prevents Tumor Growth in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
September 11, 2019
A direct target of miR-138, TUSC2 mimics miR-138 knockdown
AUSTIN, Texas & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— (September 11, 2019) — Genprex, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX), a clinical-stage gene therapy company, announced that independent researchers reported in a recent study that TUSC2, a tumor suppressor gene and the active agent in Genprex’s Oncoprex™ immunogene therapy, prevented tumor growth in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is currently considered an incurable cancer with limited therapeutic options. Genprex has no affiliation with these researchers.
The study, published in Nature, first found MicroRNA-138 as a diagnostic biomarker for TNBC, which currently lacks targeted therapies due to its inability to express the estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), thus the name for triple-negative breast cancer. Depletion of miR-138 was found to lead to apoptotic cell death in vitro and prevented tumorigenesis in vivo. TUSC2 was found to be a direct target of miR-138, and TUSC2 mimics the effects of miR-138 knockdown, preventing tumor growth. The researchers deduced that TUSC2 is a downstream tumor suppressor that is directly repressed by miR-138.
The study reports that triple-negative breast cancer is an extremely aggressive subtype of breast cancer which is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality rates. The lack of targeted treatment for triple-negative breast cancer makes it an increasingly feared diagnosis.
Genprex is conducting clinical and pre-clinical research to evaluate the effectiveness of TUSC2 when combined with targeted therapies and immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Existing pre-clinical data also suggest that TUSC2 may be effective against glioblastoma, head and neck cancer, kidney cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas. Now, this new independent study raises the possibility that TUSC2 expression, through miR-138 targeting, may also be used to treat the most aggressive subset of breast cancer.
“The results of the study evaluating TUSC2 for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer are encouraging,” said Rodney Varner, Genprex’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that the data reported in this Nature article by independent researchers supports our belief that TUSC2 may be effective to treat a variety of cancers, including some of the most deadly types of cancer.”
About Genprex, Inc.
Genprex, Inc. is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing therapies for patients with cancer and diabetes. Genprex’s technologies are designed to administer disease-fighting genes to provide new therapies for large patient populations with cancer and diabetes who currently have limited treatment options. Genprex works with world-class institutions and collaborators to develop drug candidates to further its pipeline of gene therapies in order to provide novel treatment approaches. The Company’s lead product candidate, GPX-001 (quaratusugene ozeplasmid), is being evaluated as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). GPX-001 has a multimodal mechanism of action that has been shown to interrupt cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells; re-establish pathways for apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells; and modulate the immune response against cancer cells. GPX-001 has also been shown to block mechanisms that create drug resistance. In January 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track Designation for GPX-001 for NSCLC in combination therapy with osimertinib (AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso®) for patients with EFGR mutations whose tumors progressed after treatment with osimertinib alone. For more information, please visit the Company’s web site at www.genprex.com or follow Genprex on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the effect of TUSC2 on cancer, our current and planned clinical trials, and the commercialization of our product candidates. Risks that contribute to the uncertain nature of the forward-looking statements include the presence and level of TUSC2’s effect on cancer, the timing and success of our clinical trials and planned clinical trials of TUSC2 and Oncoprex™ and our other potential product candidates and the timing and success of obtaining FDA approval of Oncoprex™ and our other potential product candidates. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in our filings and reports with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. We undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.