August 15, 2023
Researchers from LSU Health (New Orleans School of Medicine), the University of Rochester and Cellestia Biotech AG (a biopharmaceutical company in Switzerland) have unveiled an innovative treatment for treatment-resistant breast cancers. Their study, published in MDPI Cancers, presents exciting findings that could transform the landscape of breast cancer treatment.
The study focuses on two types of breast cancers: estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) and triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). These cancers can be challenging to treat due to resistance to standard therapies. The research introduces a new approach that combines an experimental oral drug with standard-of-care medications. It is effectively reversing hormone resistance and boosting treatment effectiveness.
The experimental oral drug, known as CB-103, is a product of Cellestia Biotech AG. It works by inhibiting Notch receptors, which play a vital role in transmitting information from cell surfaces to genes. Notch signaling is known to be involved in various cancers, including breast cancers. CB-103 directly targets gene regulation by Notch, setting it apart from previous drugs in the same class. This Innovative treatment approach for treatment-resistant breast cancers also comes with a more favorable safety profile compared to older drugs.
Senior author Lucio Miele, MD, PhD explained, “CB-103 is a next-generation, orally active, clinical-stage drug that, unlike older drugs, directly targets gene regulation by Notch and offers a much-improved toxicity profile.”
Samarpan Majumder, PhD and senior author in the study, emphasized the safety and efficacy of CB-103 in advanced malignancies. “CB-103 has been safe and well-tolerated, showing minimal gastrointestinal toxicity, unlike previous Notch inhibitors,” Dr. Majumder stated.
The study’s significance lies in its potential to overcome treatment resistance. Despite advancements in breast cancer treatment, endocrine resistance still emerges in estrogen-receptor positive breast cancers. Current second-line therapies have limitations and potential toxicities, while third-line treatments are often ineffective. Triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive subtype, poses a significant challenge, affecting a significant percentage of breast cancer patients.
“Our translational data will be serving as a foundation for planned clinical trials. We will combine CB-103 with anti-estrogen therapy in ER+ breast cancers with taxanes like taxol or docetaxel in TNBC” adds Dr. Majumder.
The collaborative study involved researchers from LSU Health New Orleans, Cellestia Biotech AG, and the University of Rochester. The research was funded by Cellestia Biotech and the Cancer Crusaders Chair at LSU Health New Orleans. With this promising breakthrough, the future of breast cancer treatment looks brighter, offering hope to patients with treatment-resistant breast cancers.