Feinstein Institute and Novogen to Collaborate on Brain Cancer Drug Discovery

MANHASSET, NY – The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Novogen, a US-Australian drug discovery company, today announced a collaboration with the objective of developing effective treatments for brain cancers. The collaboration brings together the Feinstein Institute preclinical and clinical expertise in neurosciences and oncology with the expertise of Novogen in drug discovery.

“This collaboration between the Feinstein Institute and Novogen is critical to supporting the discovery of new treatments for patients who suffer from life-threatening brain cancer,” said John A. Boockvar, MD, who co-directs the Feinstein Institute’s Brain Tumor Biotech Center with Marc Symons, PhD. “Patients who suffer from brain cancer don’t have optimal therapies to turn to. By offering them new, improved treatments, we will give hope to patients who face a devastating disease.”

Brain cancer is a mass of abnormal cells that is in the brain. Some forms of brain cancer spread far into normal brain tissue and are very resistant to current therapies. This poses a major challenge to successfully treating the cancer. Because of the vital importance of the brain in a person’s function, elimination with surgery of all the tumor cells from the brain is very difficult. In addition, the brain is protected from foreign substances circulating in the blood. Therefore, chemotherapy has significant limited benefits. Radio-therapy is a standard therapy for brain tumors, which, however, become resistant to this treatment. In addition, radio-therapy has many side-effects, especially in children.

Feinstein Institute researchers are making progress in identifying new treatments for two of the most common types of brain tumors, glioblastoma and medulloblastoma. Areas of active research include modulating the immune system to improve the therapeutic response in glioblastoma and identifying new therapies that can allow the use of lower doses of radiation in young children with medulloblastoma.

The objective of the collaboration with Novogen is to develop the companies’ drug candidate TRXE-009 as a monotherapy for the treatment of both primary and secondary brain cancer in adults and children, including glioblastoma and medulloblastoma. Under the same collaborative effort, the team will also develop other drug candidates as radio-sensitizers designed to augment the effectiveness of radiotherapy in treating brain cancers.

“We are confident that we have found the drug that can successfully treat cancers arising in the brain as well as cancers that spread to the brain from elsewhere,” said Novogen CEO Graham Kelly, PhD. “The ability of TRXE-009 to kill brain cancer stem-like cells gives us particular confidence that we can finally kill off the root cause of any cancer within the brain.”

TRXE-009 is a potent pan-acting (across all forms of cancer) anti-cancer molecule that will likely enter the clinic in early-2016 for the treatment of solid and non-solid cancers. TRXE-009 has proven to be effective in vitro against adult (glioblastoma) and pediatric (diffuse interstitial pontine glioma; medulloblastoma) brain cancer cells. Using models developed in the Feinstein Institute lab, the ability of TRXE-009 to treat various forms of human brain cancer will be studied using a variety of new approaches.

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.

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