“Reglagene is an order of magnitude more exciting than my previous work, and a tremendous clinical opportunity. It’s what I have been trying to accomplish as a scientist for the last forty years. Now is the time to change the way we fight cancer.”
-Dr. Laurence Hurley, Chief Scientific Officer
DNA to RNA to protein. This is the rhythm of life.
Virtually all cancers are caused by aberrant changes in gene expression. Upon confrontation with therapy, even more genetic changes can occur to enable cancer’s survival.
Most medicines work by targeting proteins. But for many of cancer’s worst actors, this approach does not work. These protein targets are labeled as “intractable” as they do not easily succumb to traditional methods for the discovery of new medicines. The encouraging news is that genes for many of these protein targets are under the control of DNA quadruplexes. What this means is that if the quadruplex can be manipulated at the gene level, then therapeutic solutions can be envisioned where none existed before.
It is commonly known that DNA exists as a double helix. When gene expression begins, the helix undergoes torsional stress and local unwinding, resulting in separation of the DNA strands. In many genes, four-stranded DNA structures form called quadruplexes.
The natural occurrence of quadruplexes has been known for over 30 years, but their functional relevance was unknown until Reglagene’s founder and CSO Laurence Hurley discovered that quadruplexes in gene promoter regions (the part of the gene that initiates expression) serve as master control elements to regulate gene expression.
Why Epigenetic Medicines?
Many of the genes under quadruplex control are on a short list of major drivers of deadly diseases but are not addressable by conventional drug development technologies. Reglagene's QMST approach delivers orally administered Epigenetic Medicines to meet this challenge.
Epigenetic Medicines regulate the first step in gene expression, a process known as transcription. An analogous technology for controlling transcription is found in gene editing; however, unlike gene editing technologies, Reglagene's Epigenetic Medicines are orally administered. In addition, Epigenetic Medicines cost less to manufacture, are easier to deliver to the tumor site, and have better-traveled development and regulatory pathways.
HOW REGLAGENE IS FIGHTING CANCER
Reglagene has begun its mission by targeting therapy-resistant prostate cancer and glioblastoma, the deadly brain cancer that took the lives of Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy. These two product development programs are currently supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, respectively. These programs are partnered with cancer experts at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Both of these programs are in the preclinical stage. We are actively producing experimental Epigenetic Medicines and testing these for efficacy and safety in human disease models. We are rapidly moving toward completion of next-generation whole-animal experiments for both prostate cancer and glioblastoma.
Epigenetic Medicines are designed to help existing cancer treatments work better and longer. At Reglagene, we are actively studying synergistic combinations with leading cancer therapies to identify the best opportunities for clinical success.
Our work won't stop with therapy-resistant prostate cancer and glioblastoma. Understanding the genetic basis of disease opens up the ability to address other cancers that share genetic commonalities.