On October 1, 2019 LineaRx, Inc., the majority-owned subsidiary of Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: APDN) focused on next-generation biotherapeutics, reported that its invasive Circulating Tumor Cells (iCTCs) platform demonstrated superior correlation over Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in an ongoing Phase II trial in recurrent prostate cancer (Press release, Applied DNA Sciences, OCT 1, 2019, View Source [SID1234539966]). Most notably, the concentration of rare iCTCs identified per milliliter of whole blood correlated more directly with disease status than did the levels of PSA. These iCTCs were captured and identified utilizing LineaRx’s technology platform recently acquired from Vitatex Inc.
LineaRx’s collaborator Tyme Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TYME), reported yesterday results of this recently completed Phase II trial using SM-88 to treat recurrent prostate cancer at the Congress of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) (Free ESMO Whitepaper), one of the preeminent meetings for highlighting new cancer therapies and diagnostics. The study updated the safety and antitumor effects of SM-88 in men with non-castrate non-metastatic prostate cancer. Antitumor effects were assessed by post-therapy changes in PSA and the number of iCTCs. Results showed that patients treated with this oral non-hormonal therapy maintained metastases-free survival without testosterone deprivation or typical hormonal therapy side effects.
Dr. Wen-Tien Chen, Principal Investigator of CTC Programs at LineaRx stated: "This use of iCTC quantification for providing earlier and more accurate identification of prostate cancer shows the importance of running trials using the iCTC functional capture and identification system from LineaRx. Published studies have shown that the concentration of iCTCs in blood correlates with disease status across other hard tumors, including metastatic sarcoma, pancreatic, ovarian, breast, lung and colorectal cancers. We believe our proprietary platform can help diagnose these difficult cancers earlier and with superior predictive capability."
The current reported SM-88 Phase II study examines iCTCs in prostate cancer for what we believe is the first time in a clinical trial. While PSA has historically been the recognized biomarker for prostate cancer, many studies over the last 20 years have shown it is an inadequate biomarker, since it may become elevated in patients with no apparent disease, or less serious pathology than cancer. Intensive efforts have been directed towards alternative prostate cancer biomarkers, particularly those that can predict disease aggressiveness and help to drive better treatment decisions. However, biomarker research has centered on disease diagnostics, rather than prognosis and prediction, which could work toward disease prevention—an important focus moving forward.
The authors concluded: "Reductions in iCTC number may be a more informative indicator of benefit than changes in PSA." Dr. Chen added, "New prostate cancer biomarkers should be targeted to addressing unmet clinical needs in prostate cancer management, including indicators for disease with low PSA values (<10ng/mL), prognostic markers to distinguish indolent from aggressive disease, and biomarkers for metastatic cancer."
LineaRx’s iCTC technology is unique in that it isolates iCTCs on a functional basis (the invasion of a model tissue for the extracellular matrix, or the tissue between cells in an organ) and allows the cells to be cultured for deeper genomic analysis. iCTCs are a model for metastasis, since the tumor cells have left the primary tumor and entered the circulation. The LineaRx platform may serve as a standalone device or as a front-end to increase the sensitivity of approved diagnostics.
"iCTCs have the potential for metastasis, and may be very useful in the diagnosis of cancer, even before tumors may be imaged," said Dr. James Hayward, CEO of LineaRx. "The present study is exciting because we believe it shows that iCTCs may be used to accurately follow therapy success in this very prevalent cancer while also providing new tools for cell and gene therapy design and production."