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Helix 51 Incubator Company Publishes Promising New Data on Potential Therapy to Boost Effectiveness of Pancreatic Cancer Treatments

BLR Bio, an early stage biotech company in the Helix 51 biomedical incubator, released new data on its novel cancer therapy recently at the 7th annual Labroots Drug Discovery and Development conference. The data points to a promising strategy to boost the effectiveness of existing drugs in pancreatic cancer and other solid-tumor cancers.

According to the American Cancer Society, some 66,000 persons in the U.S. are diagnosed annually with pancreatic cancer, a disease with a very low survival rate that is projected to take 51,000 lives in 2024.

BLR Bio’s new findings are based on a long-term research relationship between the company and oncology researchers at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan and Bergamo, Italy, and follow work published with that team in the journal Cells in 2020.

The current study, “BLR-100: Can a Novel Tumor Stroma Targeting Agent Reduce Chemotherapy Load as a Potential Effective Combination Therapy,” demonstrates that the use of BLR’s compound — BLR-100 — could provide similar efficacy to a doubling of the dose of existing chemotherapy without increasing side effects of these therapeutics, which often impact patient quality of life during treatment.

“The high dose chemotherapy necessary for efficacy in high mortality cancers like pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PNAC) are often complicated and have high rates of toxicity,” said BLR Bio CEO Bruce Riser, PhD. “Finding an approach to use lower doses while maintaining efficacy has been a constant search for cancer treatments.”

“While other approaches are being pursued to decrease the chemotherapy load, our approach is unique,” Dr. Riser said. “BLR-100 targets the formation of the protective tumor stroma, a fibrotic-like element that is thought to retard the entry of chemo-therapeutic agents.”

BLR-100 is also expected to allow better access to normal immune clearance mechanisms as well as the new immuno-oncology drugs, which to date have not been effective in cancers like PNAC. BLR Bio is currently completing IND-enabling studies for this novel compound.

Ronald Kaplan, PhD, RFU executive vice president for research, said, “The Mario Negri Institute is a world-renowned cancer research organization, and we are delighted to see this ongoing collaboration with one of our companies to further the development of this novel therapy for such a devastating disease.”

Posted March 26
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