Polaris Group has started dosing patients in its Phase I trial of ADI-PEG 20 in combination with nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine to treat advanced pancreatic cancer.
The company claims that ADI-PEG 20 is being developed to treat cancers, especially those carrying a major metabolic defect that renders such cancer cells, unlike normal cells, unable to internally synthesise arginine.
ADI-PEG 20 is designed to deplete the external supply of arginine which is believed to support the survival and growth of cancer cells.
The depletion of external supply of arginine will kill arginine-dependent cancer cells while leaving the patient's normal cells unharmed.
Polaris Medical Affairs executive vice-president John Bomalaski said: "Combination of ADI-PEG 20 with gemcitabine has been shown to have greater inhibition of pancreatic tumour growth than either treatment alone in a mouse xenograft study.
"We are excited to start this new trial and explore potential benefits of the combination in the clinical setting."
Currently, ADI-PEG 20 is also being evaluated in combination with cisplatin in melanoma and ovarian cancer, as well as in combination with doxorubicin in HER2 negative breast cancer.
In addition, the drug is being tested in combination with cisplatin and pemetrexed in malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small cell lung carcinoma.
Besides the ADI-PEG 20 programme, Polaris is also researching and developing other biotherapeutic agents and is advancing a small molecule drug program that utilises a rational structure-based approach to design novel compounds that inhibit the biological function of cancer-related protein targets.
Image: Histopathogic image of pancreatic adenocarcinoma arising in the pancreas head region. Photo: courtesy of KGH.