Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation lab manager Adam Adler works in the foundation's Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program.

New Biotechnology Partnership Formed to Develop Liver Cancer Chemotherapeutic

Q BioMed, Inc., a New York City-based biomedical acceleration and development company has entered into an agreement with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) to develop a chemotherapeutic technology to treat liver cancer.

The technology will utilize “uttroside B” and the compound’s derivatives as a chemotherapeutic agent against hepatocellular carcinoma. The preclinical efficacy of uttroside B, a potent saponin, against liver cancer was recently demonstrated in a November 3, 2016 study published in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal.

The compound has been isolated and characterized from the leaves of Solanum nigrum Linn, a plant widely used in traditional medicine. In the Scientific Reports study, researchers showed that in animal models, uttroside B was ten times more cytotoxic to the HepG2 liver cancer cell line than the only drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for liver cancer.

Uttroside B drastically shrunk tumors in mice bearing human liver cancer xenografts. In addition, in pre-clinical experiments uttroside B induced cytotoxicity in all liver cancer cell lines, irrespective of their hepatitis B virus status, while being non-toxic to normal immortalized hepatocytes.

Chemotherapeutic options for liver cancer are limited, and the prognosis of patients remains challenging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, claiming approximately 750,000 lives each year. In the US, the American Cancer Society estimates that 39,000 people will be diagnosed with primary liver cancer in 2017 and that 27,000 will die from the disease this year.

The currently available drug has been shown to increase survival by only a short period of time. That drug also been reported to carry a variety of serious side effects, including increased blood pressure, bleeding problems, decreased blood flow to the heart and heart attacks.

In the Scientific Reports study, uttroside B was shown to be several times more potent than the currently available drug and did not cause noticeable side effects in vitro or in vivo.

“We are encouraged by the preclinical results we observed in this data and look forward to working with our collaborators at OMRF and RGCB to carry out further pre-clinical and clinical evaluation of uttroside B,” Q BioMed Inc. CEO Denis Corin said. “Our ultimate goal is to use it as an effective chemotherapeutic against liver cancer, which currently has very few therapeutic options.”

The uttroside B technology is covered by a provisional patent application. To see the full Scientific Reports study, go to: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep36318

Skip to toolbar