MicroRNA therapy developer Mirna Therapeutics has commenced a Phase I trial of anti-cancer drug MRX34.
MRX34 is the first microRNA (miRNA) to advance into a human clinical trial being conducted in patients with unresectable primary liver cancer or metastatic cancer with liver involvement.
Mirna Theraputics president and CEO Dr Paul Lammers said that the trial is a landmark event in cancer drug development.
"The preclinical profile of MRX34 across a range of tumors strongly suggests that miRNA-based therapeutics may represent a potent, new class of anticancer drugs working through a mechanism that affects multiple oncogenic pathways simultaneously," Lammers said.
The miRNA, which is about 20-25 nucleotides long, mimics tumour suppressor miR34 and is delivered using Smarticles, a proprietary technology licensed from Marina Biotech.
Marina Biotech research and development executive vice president Dr Richard Ho said the company is pleased to see the Smarticles delivery technology advancing into another clinical development effort.
"With the initiation of this trial, Marina will be the only company with a delivery technology that is being used to deliver both single-stranded and double-stranded oligonucleotide therapeutics in clinical trials," Ho said.
"We look forward to Mirna's continued advancement of this program and the validation of our oligonucleotide delivery platform."
The Phase I study is designed to have an initial dose-escalation phase followed by an enrichment phase, and is expected to enrol a total of 48 patients.