Our understanding of these mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level has inspired the development of a peptide-mediated drug vectorization strategy to improve tumor targeting.
The discovery of biomarkers/surface receptors in certain types of cancers led to the development of new anticancer molecules consisting of cytotoxic agents or phytochemicals linked to peptides that target overexpressed receptors in cancer cells. In keeping with a personalized medicine approach, this strategy aims to optimize therapeutic interventions and produce a targeted effect in patients.
Specific Applications of Peptide-drug Conjugates
There is a strong connection between inflammatory bowel disorders and the subsequent onset of colorectal cancer. The objective of this project is to study the effects of anticancer phytochemical-peptide conjugates on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as their cellular and molecular impact on the development of colorectal cancer.
Other Chronic Diseases
Our peptides can easily be conjugated to a variety of other therapeutic molecules targeting indications beyond oncology as a means to improve their internalization and pharmacological activity in target cells expressing the appropriate receptors. For example, our peptides could be conjugated to:
- Druggable monoclonal antibodies (anti-HER2, anti-EGFR, anti-PD1)
- Antibodies with anticancer molecules (antibody drug conjugates)
- Bispecific antibodies
They may also be suited for other applications to transport nanoparticles or liposomes carrying a therapeutic payload. Finally, these new chemical entities could be administered as a monotherapy or combination therapy with any another agent demonstrating anticancer activity.
In the past years, our research has led to the development of vectorization strategies in order to cross the normally impenetrable blood-brain barrier and to deliver a variety of drugs to the brain. In partnership with Montreal-based Angiochem, we proceeded to develop therapeutic peptide-drug conjugates targeting brain tumors and metastases, which ultimately led to the development of ANG1005, a new taxane derivative. The compound is currently undergoing clinical studies and shows great promise for women suffering from breast cancer with recurrent brain metastasis, an otherwise untreatable condition.
Our research uncovered drug recognition and internalization mechanisms that we can leverage to design target-oriented drugs, especially in gynecological cancers such as ovarian, breast and endometrial cancers. The objective of this project is to study the effects of drug-peptide conjugates on these mechanisms. Future clinical progress may give rise to alternative treatments for women dealing with these types of cancers.