SYDNEY, Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Novogen Limited (ASX: symbol NRT; Nasdaq: symbol NVGN) today announced the filing of a family of provisional patents in the US covering anti-tropomyosin (ATM) drug technology.
ATM drugs represent an entirely novel approach to anti-cancer therapy, blocking the ability of cancer cells to divide and doing so in a highly cancer-specific way. Based on their action, ATMs belong to a class of anti-cancer drug known as anti-mitotics. Current anti-mitotic drugs are taxanes and vinca alkaloids and remain among the most widely prescribed anti-cancer drugs after 40 years of use.
"Filing these patents represents a critical step for the Company in protecting such a potentially valuable piece of intellectual property," said Graham Kelly, PhD, Novogen CEO. "Taxanes continue to dominate anti-cancer therapy even though they recently came off-patent. We believe that ATM drugs have the ability to replace taxanes and to become the next generation of anti-mitotic drugs."
Tropomyosin is a protein found in actin filaments, a key component of the cytoskeleton of a cell. Actin filaments provide a cell with the ability to contract. One of the ways that contraction serves a cell is during cell division when separation of the two daughter cells occurs by the formation of a ring known as the contraction ring. When that ring tightens, the two cells effectively separate.ATM drugs target a particular isoform of tropomyosin known as Tm5NM1 on which cancer cells are highly dependent. Targeting this particular tropomyosin isoform prevents formation of the contraction ring and hence the ability of the cancer cells to divide. "The current generation of anti-mitotic drugs, despite their widespread use, comes with two key negatives," Dr. Kelly added. "The first of those is a serious side-effect profile. The second is that many types of cancer are inherently insensitive to them. ATM drugs to date are showing an apparent lack of serious toxicity as well as an ability to kill cancer cells that are insensitive to taxanes."