After identifying its heart protective effects, Race Oncology (ASX: RAC) has extended the collaboration with the University of Newcastle for its Zantrene (bisantrene dihydrochloride) anti-cancer drug.
Earlier this week, Race revealed preclinical research using Zantrene has shown it can synergise with chemotherapy drug carfilzomib and improve cancer cell death, while also providing protection against heart muscle cell death.
Carfilzomib is an effective anti-cancer drug, but it is known to cause serious and permanent heart damage.
University of Newcastle Associate Professor Doan Ngo, who is an eminent cardiotoxicity researcher, led the preclinical study and noted it had shown Zantrene could salvage more than 30% of carfilzomib-induced human heart cell death.
“Our laboratory has tested numerous drug candidates over the years, and we have observed that Zantrene has potent and synergistic anti-cancer effects and cardio-protective effects against carfilzomib and doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity.”
“Zantrene was shown to be able to significantly protect the heart muscles and these results are genuinely remarkable, as we have observed a much lower protection rate with other clinically used cardioprotective drugs,” he added.
In today’s announced expanded collaboration, professor Ngo and associate professor Aaron Sverdlov will head up further research exploring the cardio-protective attributes of Zantrene in vitro.
Zantrene will be evaluated in combination with a larger panel of anti-cancer drugs that are also known to damage the hearts of cancer patients.
This will then progress to animal studies.
“The success of our collaboration with associate professors Sverdlov and Ngo has been exceptional to-date,” Race chief scientific officer Daniel Tillett said.
“We all look forward to uncovering all the cardio-protection secrets Zantrene has to reveal.”
The expanded research will begin immediately, and results will be reported over the next 12 months.
According to Race, Zantrene is a “potent” inhibitor of the fatso/fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) protein, which has been associated with a large range of cancers.
The company is developing Zantrene as a new therapy for melanoma and clear renal cell carcinomas, which both have overexpressing FTO proteins.
More recent preclinical work has identified Zantrene’s heart-protective impact, while it acts synergistically with other anti-cancer drugs such as anthracyclines and proteasome inhibitors.