Lantheus Grants Allegheny Health Network Exclusive Rights for the Use of its Microbubbles in Combination with Ultrasound Assisted Gene Therapy for the Development of a Proposed Treatment for Xerostomia
Xerostomia, a lack of saliva production leading to dry mouth, has a variety of causes, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the chronic use of drugs and rheumatic and dysmetabolic diseases. It is also a common side effect of ionizing radiation used to treat head and neck cancer.1
A proof of concept Phase 1 clinical trial sponsored by a third party showed that Aquaporin-1 (AQP1), a trans-membrane protein that facilitates water movement across lipid layers, restored saliva flow in a human population using an adenovirus-based vector encoding AQP1 to a single previously irradiated parotid gland.2 The results from this study led AHN to research using UAGT technology targeting the salivary gland, which combines the use of nonviral DNA vector and lipid microbubbles with a low-frequency acoustic field to create a ‘sonoporation’ effect allowing gene transfer to the cells of the salivary gland without the introduction of viral antigens.3
“We believe that UAGT may provide long-term relief of radiation-induced xerostomia, with adjustable dosing and potential for booster doses over time,” said Warren Swegal, MD, an AHN head and neck surgeon and clinical lead of the network’s UAGT program. “No other existing treatment offers a long-lasting solution for this life-altering condition, and we are thrilled to be able to further develop and improve the therapy by leveraging Lantheus’ proven microbubble technology.”
“We are excited to support AHN in its efforts to progress this innovative development program. Xerostomia is a chronic and debilitating condition with limited treatment options for patients,” said
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1Pinna R, Campus G, Cumbo E, Mura I, Milia E. Xerostomia induced by radiotherapy: an overview of the physiopathology, clinical evidence, and management of the oral damage.
3Wang Z, Zourelias L, Wu C, Edwards PC, Trombetta M, Passineau MJ. Ultrasound-assisted nonviral gene transfer of AQP1 to the irradiated minipig parotid gland restores fluid secretion. Gene Therapy. 2015; 22:739-749.
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