ANGLE plc has announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with the Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster ‘Translational Oncology’ located at the Medical University of Vienna to investigate the clinical use of the Parsortix system for ovarian cancer.
The collaboration is led by the head of the interdisciplinary Molecular Oncology Group at Medical University of Vienna, Professor Robert Zeillinger.
The Medical University of Vienna is one of the leading research institutions in Europe. Prof Zeillinger has 30 years’ experience in the field of molecular oncology, experimental oncology, gynaecologic oncology, and was initiator and coordinator of the EU FP6 project OVCAD (ovarian cancer diagnosing a silent killer). He is author and co-author of more than 200 scientific publications and holds several patents.
The Molecular Oncology Group is an active member of EUTROC (European Network for Translational Research in Ovarian Cancer), which brings together all the leading ovarian cancer experts in Europe and is leading a number of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials for new drugs to address ovarian cancer. The Group is also a member of TOC (International Tumour Bank Ovarian Cancer Initiative), where Prof Zeillinger serves as a member of the scientific board.
Furthermore, Prof Zeillinger and his team are taking the lead on ‘companion diagnostics’ in the major GANNET53 Europe-wide multi-centre ovarian cancer clinical trial to test a new drug strategy for chemotherapy resistant ovarian cancer with Phase I and Phase II trials planned for 2015.
Prof Zeillinger and his team are evaluating the Parsortix system for its efficacy at capturing circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from ovarian cancer patient blood with the ambition of using the system in combination with RNA markers for CTCs that have already been developed by the team.
There is particular interest in the Parsortix system as it is epitope-independent and does not use an antibody-based capture process, which is known to be limited in its effectiveness for ovarian cancer, since most of ovarian cancer CTCs do not express the epithelial cell surface marker EpCAM which is widely used for CTC capturing.
ANGLE is strongly focused on establishing the use of the Parsortix system in clinical practice. To achieve this, the top priority is the establishment of collaborations with key opinion leaders at world class research centres. These key opinion leaders are working to identify applications with medical utility (clear benefit to patients), and to secure clinical data that demonstrates that utility in patient studies. ANGLE believes this is the optimal approach for unlocking the multi-billion dollar worldwide market available to the Company and its potential strategic partners.
Professor Zeillinger, Head of the Molecular Oncology Group at The Medical University of Vienna, commented: “Existing antibody-based systems do not work well with ovarian cancer so we are very pleased to be working with ANGLE and the Parsortix system. Some 67,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer Europe-wide each year and 42,000 die annually of this disease. A major treatment obstacle is the fact that although about 75% of patients respond to first-line chemotherapy, most of these patients relapse and eventually die of the disease. We hope that by investigating the CTCs of patients, using ANGLE’s Parsortix system, we can identify ways to improve the treatment offered to these patients.”
ANGLE Founder and Chief Executive, Andrew Newland, commented: “Professor Zeillinger and his team are world leaders in gynaecological cancers. Ovarian cancer has a particularly poor outcome as there is little targeted therapy available. We hope that, using the Parsortix system to harvest CTCs, Prof Zeillinger and his team may be able to use targeted drugs more effectively and improve the overall outcome for ovarian cancer patients in the future.”