Lycera Corp., a company developing breakthrough oral immune modulators, announced its latest data concerning the anti-tumor activity of synthetic RORγ agonist product candidates, during the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) annual meeting, held in National Harbor, MD.
The results, entitled “Novel synthetic RORgamma agonist compounds as a potential anti-tumor therapeutic approach“ showed that RORγ agonists could efficiently enhance immune cells’ survival and activity against tumors cells, along with an immunosuppression of the tumor mechanisms responsible for evading cancer immunotherapies.
These effects resulted in decreased tumor growth and enhanced survival in mice models of cancer. Research has further demonstrated that oral delivery of RORγ agonists (as single agents) could increase survival in an animal MC38 colon cancer model, demonstrating the potential this immunotherapeutic drug may have in the inhibition of colon cancer growth and increased long-term survival. “While research involving immune-oncology approaches to treat cancer is expected to have a substantial impact in the years ahead, most agents in development are biologics with single mechanisms of action,” Gary Glick, Ph.D., founder and chief scientific officer, Lycera Corp., said in a press release. “Lycera’s proprietary and wholly owned program based on RORg agonists represents a completely new approach that is shown to have multiple anti-cancer mechanisms”, he added.
RORγ, a nuclear receptor transcription factor, can drive the activation and differentiation of immune cells, including Th17 (helper T-cells) and Tc17 (cytotoxic) T cells, two types of T cells that enhance the immune response to cancer cells both by direct immune system activation and by decreasing immune suppression.
In their studies, researchers found that RORγ agonists could efficiently increase immune activation mechanisms, such as cytokine production. Furthermore, they have the capacity to reduce PD-1 expression, a receptor responsible for tumor evasion, resulting in impaired anti-tumor immune responses.
“High potency, orally available compounds are rapidly advancing at Lycera and are showing promise as a cancer immunotherapy approach. This important research provides significant additional confirmation of their potential benefits in both mono and combination therapy,” said Dr. Glick. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to advance this important research platform.”