Current Edition

Positive results for Evgen’s rhabdomyosarcoma therapy

Update on radio sensitising impact of SFX-01 when treating common soft tissue sarcoma condition.

Evgen Pharma – a company focusing on sulforaphane-based therapies – has issued an update on its research partnership with the Sapienza University of Rome, which has been concentrating on the radio-sensitising impact of SFX-01 in-vivo when treating rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS).

Radiosensitising is a treatment that makes tumour cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, enhancing its effectiveness, while RMS is the most prevalent soft tissue sarcoma among children.

The data – presented at the ESMO Sarcoma and Rare Cancers Congress earlier this year – demonstrated that SFX-01 was effective at reducing RMS tumour cell growth in-vitro when used independently and in combination with radiotherapy, where it was found to be synergistic.

The effects have now also been established in-vivo in a mouse xenograft model of RMS. Meanwhile, the impact of SFX-01 given orally on the growth of patient-derived RMS tumour cells in-vivo was also researched.

Consequently, the therapy was effective at decreasing the growth of tumour masses when provided as a single agent on a daily basis. It was also given in combination with a radiotherapy regime, where it was shown to act synergistically, resulting in a more positive outcome than would be expected.

Lead investigator, professor Francesco Marampon, of Università Sapienza di Roma, was encouraged by the results: “The systemic therapy of RMS has not changed in recent decades and the frequent finding of locoregional recurrences suggests the need for radio sensitising therapies that increase local control.”

He added: “Unfortunately, with sarcomas, particularly with RMS, exciting data is rarely obtained in vivo and, precisely for this reason, I am very excited to observe this result.”

Dr Helen Kuhlman, a chief business officer at Evgen, concluded: “The collaboration with professor Marampon’s group continues to generate very encouraging data on SFX-01 as a radiosensitising agent – demonstrating the possibilities for SFX-01 wherever radiotherapy is used as a standard of care.

“Our clinical work has shown that SFX-01 is safe and well tolerated, so its potential to enhance the effects of radiotherapy without causing an additional therapeutic burden on patients is highly exciting.”

RMS is a rare cancer that forms in soft tissue and can develop in muscle, fat, blood vessels, or in any of the other tissues that protect the organs of the body. While RMS can manifest at any age, it most often affects children.

The data from both sets of studies will now be brought together for submission to a peer-reviewed publication.