A preclinical study testing Nanobiotix’s radiotherapy enhancer NBTXR3 in pancreatic cancers is underway as part of a collaboration with one of the world’s leading oncological research centers, the Providence Cancer Institute, in Portland, Oregon.
Led by Marka R. Crittenden, MD, PhD, radiation oncologist and director of Translational Radiation Research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Center, the study will evaluate if adding NBTXR3 to radiation therapy triggers better anti-cancer immune responses than standard radiotherapy alone.
For one year, this joint program will evaluate the early mechanisms triggered by NBTXR3 on the immune system, its impact on cancer control, and overall outcome in different experimental models of pancreatic cancer.
The study is expected to demonstrate the anti-cancer potential of NBTXR3 in this cancer type, supporting its future use as an immuno-oncology therapy.
“Promising pre-clinical data suggests that nanoparticles combined with radiotherapy enhance tumor-specific immune responses and lead to an abscopal response, priming a patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells outside of the radiotherapy target area,” Crittenden said in a press release. “Furthermore, we are absolutely delighted to partner with Nanobiotix to advance our research on this phenomenon and the role NBTXR3 can play in immuno-oncology.”
NBTXR3 is a nano-sized compound composed of hafnium oxide nanoparticles. It is directly administered into the tumor site and was initially designed to enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy.
However, NBTXR3 has demonstrated additional therapeutic benefits, including being able to induce immune responses that are otherwise not present when radiotherapy is given alone.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently granted NBTXR3 investigational new drug status for the treatment of advanced lung cancer and head and neck cancer. This supports the start of an open-label Phase 1/2 trial to evaluate NBTXR3 in combination with anti-PD-1 targeted therapies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo (nivolumab) and Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab).
NBTXR3 is currently in the last stages of a Phase 2/3 trial (NCT02379845) for soft tissue sarcoma, and is being evaluated in several Phase 1/2 trials for the treatment of head and neck cancer (NCT01946867, NCT02901483), liver cancer (NCT02721056), rectal cancer (NCT02465593), and prostate cancer (NCT02805894).