York, United Kingdom, 31 March 2011.
Pro-Cure Therapeutics Ltd (“Pro-Cure”), a leader in the development of novel therapies targeting cancer stem cells, announced today that the European Patent Office has granted it European patent No. EP1725655 entitled “Cancerous Prostate Stem Cell”.
A rare sub-population of cells, the cancer stem cells, plays a crucial role in the initiation and maintenance of tumours and it’s believed they’re also responsible for recurrence of cancer after initial remission, and for metastasis. The emerging pattern is that many common treatment regimes target rapidly proliferating cell populations in a tumour leaving behind a chemo- or radiation resistant stem cell population which results in the relapse of a therapy resistant tumour.
The patent covers methods of isolating the cancerous prostate stem cells and also claims to cultures of prostate cancer stem cells. Mick McLean, CEO of Pro-Cure, commented “These methods allow us to isolate the tumour initiating entities in prostate cancer and to test them directly for the effects of new treatments to eradicate these resistant cells. There’s an increasing body of evidence from other groups that support our identification of these cells, and this patent is an important step forward in developing drugs that can halt the spread of the disease.”
The patent, assigned to Pro-Cure, is based on the research of Pro-Cure’s scientific founder Professor Norman J. Maitland and his colleague Dr Anne Collins at the Yorkshire Cancer Research-funded CRU at the University of York, United Kingdom.
Pro-Cure is focused on developing drugs targeted against cancer stem cells. The company’s belief is that combination treatments will be necessary to truly change the way in which cancer is managed - drugs to reduce the size of the tumour mass, combined with drugs to prevent the stem cells regenerating it in future.
The company has identified targets for new classes of cancer drugs that may fundamentally change the management of cancer, and is developing a pipeline of therapeutic candidates against these targets, starting in prostate cancer and then expanding into other tumour types.