Biorébus is developing new therapies against cancer by approaching cancer as an ailment of cell metabolism.
Cancer: A Public Health Calamity
The progress of therapies against cancer is slow despite the numerous new drugs put on the market. Cancer remains a huge challenge, because while current treatments may prolong the patients’ survival by several weeks or months, real cases of victory are still too few and far between. Conversely, the cost of medicinal cancer treatments has grown exponentially over the past ten years.
It is therefore essential to reconsider research on anticancer therapies from another angle to be able to significantly increase their efficiency, i.e. the « Therapeutic Benefit / Cost » ratio. This represents a major challenge for research in the years to come if we are to take care of sick people efficiently, without weighing immoderately on public accounts.
Within this context, new scientific assumptions must be explored.
Cancer: A Metabolism Disease
Cancer is not only a genome disease but also a metabolism disease. Since the work of Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg, we know that the metabolism of cancerous cells clearly differs from that of normal cells. Cancerous cells consume a higher amount of glucose than they are able to digest. This is the actual basis for PET scan imagery, in which the intravenous injection of a radioactive substance similar to glucose is used to visualize the cancer and its metastases. This assumption, which had long been forgotten, is starting to surface again. A considerable amount of recent work, including our own, shows that this metabolic disorder could be the source of the cancer development process.
While Warburg described the effect that now bears his name, he did not understand the reason behind it. Our assumption is that by explaining the effect, we would be able to target it and thus limit – if not stop – tumor growth. To this day, we believe we have outlined the enzymatic anomalies responsible for the Warburg effect and determined the therapeutic targets. We have devised a strategy against cancer by blocking the metabolic pathways that feed its development. The aim is to deprive the cancerous cell of energy in order to kill it or make it more reactive to treatments such as chemotherapy.
An Innovative R&D Process
The approach to cancer developed by Biorébus is innovative on more than one count. We are tackling cancer using an approach that is both new, since few specialists are developing it, and very solid, as it is based on older work recognized worldwide. We select molecules that have already been approved and that are well known in other medical applications. By using recognized molecules, we can optimize the product’s development cycle, as well as minimize upstream experimental work and prescribed preclinical phases for toxicological validation. In addition, we use the molecules’ complementarity to potentiate the effects in view of developing the most effective treatments.
Activity and Outlook
Biorébus’ current activity is primarily focused on preclinical research, in collaboration with Pr Maurice Israël. The work conducted over the past three years has enabled us to identify therapeutic targets and active molecules. Combinations of several of these compounds have revealed to be efficient in murine tumor models. We are currently consolidating this data in animals in order to prepare a clinical trial application.
Examples of Experimental Results Obtained
The A and B molecules, selected by Biorébus, have been combined to treat a model of murine cancer (B16F10) compared with non-treated mice (no treatment, vehicle) or mice treated with conventional chemotherapy (cisplatin).
Compared with non-treated tumors, the A x B combination reduces the tumor volume by more than 60% and doubles the animals’ lifespan.