Cancer Treatment Targeting DNA Repair is Tested in Humans for the First Time

Onxeo AsiDNA Cancer Treatment

Onxeo has initiated a Phase I trial testing its first-in-class cancer treatment that works by inhibiting the repair of tumor DNA.

Onxeo, a French biotech, has dosed its first patient in a Phase I study testing its cancer treatment AsiDNA, the first treatment of its kind, for advanced solid tumors. The news follows the Phase III failure of Onxeo’s liver cancer treatment last year.

AsiDNA, is a short, double-stranded DNA molecule that mimics double-stranded DNA breaks found in damaged DNA. This attracts a host of enzymes that are involved in DNA repair and prevents them from restoring the DNA of tumors cells. As a result, cancer cells continue dividing with damaged DNA, because they are not able to regulate their cell division. Eventually, this leads to their death. Meanwhile, healthy cells are able to halt their cell division until AsiDNA is no longer present and normal DNA repair continues.

Onxeo expects initial results in the second half of 2018.

Onxeo is not the only company developing cancer treatments that target DNA repair mechanisms. British biotech Artios Pharma, for example, is developing therapies that target the DNA repair enzyme DNA polymerase theta, which is upregulated in certain cancers.

Image by vrx/Shutterstock

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