INOVIQ study confirms breakthrough exosome therapy in the treatment of breast cancer

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Inoviq ASX IIQ breaktrhough exosome therapy breast cancer

Biotechnology company INOVIQ (ASX: IIQ) has produced and isolated engineered exosomes (EEVs) to target and kill breast cancer cells in vitro using its proprietary EXO-ACE technology.

The breakthrough therapy has been validated in a proof-of-concept study in which a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) was developed for the targeted delivery of therapeutic EEVs to cancer cells.

The breast cancer-targeting CAR was expressed in modified exosomes released by immune cells.

The exosomes were isolated and concentrated from immune cell-conditioned media using EXO-ACE, recovering more than 80% of exosomes with over 95% purity.

Rapid cell death

The study showed that 75% of breast cancer cells underwent cell death within 72 hours when treated with the exosomes.

It also demonstrated that exosomes can be engineered and loaded with drug cargo such as RNA (ribonucleic acid) therapeutics to target and deliver effective treatments for neurological diseases across the blood-brain barrier.

INOVIQ will now progress its exosome therapeutics program, initially focusing on immune-cell-derived exosome therapeutics for metastatic breast and ovarian cancers.

Valuable data

Chief executive officer Leearne Hinch said the proof-of-concept study had produced valuable data.

“The data highlights the potential of immune-cell-derived exosomes as an effective cancer therapy and the potential for RNA drug-loaded exosome therapeutics,” she said.

“We are scaling our exosome production capacity using EXO-ACE technology to isolate exosomes and advance our immune cell-derived exosome program towards key pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo milestones for cancer starting later this year.”

Ms Hinch said the pre-clinical in vivo data would support discussions with pharmaceutical companies for potential partnering opportunities related to exosome therapeutics.

Exosome therapeutics

Exosomes are small vesicles released by all cells including immune cells (such as T-cells) and natural killer (NK) cells.

INOVIQ’s exosome therapeutics program employs genetically-engineered immune cells which express a CAR and enable CAR-T/NK cells to specifically recognise and bind to cancer cells and release their cytotoxic effects.

Exosomes released by immune cells are reported to have significant potential as off-the-shelf therapeutics with potential manufacturing, safety and efficacy advantages over autologous (patient-derived) cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumours.