Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX), an emerging biotechnology provider of cell and gene therapy solutions, today discussed the potential use of the company’s cell encapsulation technology with modified stem cells to treat late stage cancers.
Stem cell therapy is not new to physicians dealing with blood and bone cancers, with stem cell transplants being an important treatment for growing new bone marrow since the 1970s. Recent studies have indicated the potential for using stem cells across a much broader range of cancers is becoming a reality, mostly a result of advances in cell and molecular biology techniques.
Traditional chemotherapy works by targeting the fast-growing cells common to cancer tumors. Unfortunately, chemotherapeutics don’t differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. Patients suffering from metastatic cancers, where tumors have spread to multiple areas of the body, often have substantial difficulties with the chemotherapy needed to treat their disease.
In one case, researchers at City of Hope and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital may have found a way to treat cancers that have spread throughout the body more effectively. They used genetically modified stem cells to activate chemotherapeutic drugs at the tumor sites, so that normal tissue surrounding the tumor and throughout the body remain relatively unharmed. The stem cells were designed to produce a specific enzyme that converts the nontoxic prodrug into the chemotherapeutic agent. This method also targets the brain tumor treatment to remain localized within the brain, similar to the pancreatic cancer clinical trial carried out by SG Austria, providing for high dosage chemotherapy without affecting surrounding tissues and avoiding the severe side effects normally associated with cancer therapy.Nuvilex believes that incorporating Cell-in-a-Box® encapsulation with this type of genetically modified stem cell, along with the proprietary cancer treatment being acquired, could significantly aid and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Robert Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Nuvilex, commented, “We are hopeful for the day when late stage cancers can be routinely and safely treated using genetically modified cells like those used in the pancreatic cancer trial, increasing the ability of clinicians to avoid inducing side effects that typically accompany aggressive chemotherapy and/or radiation. Our cell encapsulation technology will enable practitioners to target tumors while preserving the health of the surrounding tissues. We continue to look for leading stem cell and oncology researchers to partner with us as we bring this technology to market.”