Introgen Therapeutics, Inc. has announced that a patent has been awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which covers, for example, administration of chemotherapeutic drugs, radiation therapies, or other agents that have a damaging effect on the DNA of cancer cells, to a cancer patient, followed by administration of a desired therapeutic gene, such as one or more of Introgen's molecular therapies.
While useful for cancer treatments, the patent claims are not limited to oncology use and may have utility in other diseases. The patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,989,375, is one of numerous patents, pending or issued, that Introgen has licensed exclusively from the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System which cover its therapies.
This patent is based on the finding that the potency of any gene based product, including Introgen's current product candidates, may be increased by pretreatment of cancer cells with chemotherapy or other DNA damaging agents.
In particular Introgen has found that when cancer cells are pretreated with chemotherapy agents designed to cause DNA damage, followed by administration of a vector encoding a tumor suppressor gene, such as ADVEXIN or INGN 241, the result is an increase in expression of the selected tumor suppressor gene.
This effect is observed in cancer cells when the selected chemotherapy is designed to damage DNA.
Virtually all cancer patients receive DNA damaging agents such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy as part of a standard treatment regimen. By treating cancer cells with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy prior to receiving targeted molecular therapies, the effects of the treatment are enhanced.
This enhanced therapeutic effect is not dependent on the type of cancer or the method by which a patient receives chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
"Because this patent is applicable to any gene based therapy and not limited to Introgen's proprietary pipeline, it further solidifies and expands Introgen's leading position with its own combination therapy," said David L. Parker, J.D., Ph.D., vice president of Intellectual Property for Introgen.
"Thus, this is an important patent to any company interested in commercially pursuing such combination therapies."
"This patent further validates Introgen's intellectual property strategy, which is to patent technology that is clinically useful, can be broadly applied to a variety of products and predicts new, less toxic ways to treat cancer, particularly in therapies that may lessen the side effects of currently available treatments."
Introgen holds a licensing agreement with M. D. Anderson to commercialize products based on licensed technologies, and has the option to license future technologies under sponsored research agreements.
The University Of Texas Board Of Regents owns stock in Introgen. These arrangements are managed in accordance with M.D. Anderson's conflict of interest policies.