New Biomarker may help determine men at higher risk of developing invasive Prostate Cancer


In a published study, in EBio Medicine, researchers at Arizona-based biotech, Aqualung Therapeutics may have identified a novel biomarker that alone, or potentially combined with Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), may determine men who are at higher risk of developing metastatic invasive Prostate Cancer (PCa).

Other than skin cancer, PCa is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Each year there are greater than 160,000 new PCa cases and nearly 30,000 deaths.

There is a need to reduce PCa morbidity and mortality, a goal that requires identification of risk factors that influence prostate cancer escape from the gland and metastatic progression.

The EBio Medicine publication highlights several novel observations including the strong NAMPT expression in invasive prostate cancer tissues and the significant elevation of plasma eNAMPT in men with PCa; especially men with extraprostatic invasion i.e. with PCa that has escaped the prostatic capsule.

The EBio Medicine publication further demonstrates eNAMPT to be a highly druggable target amenable to eNAMPT-neutralizing biologic therapy in preventing PCa invasion. Therapeutic targeting of eNAMPT may antagonize and potentially delay the switch to aggressive, invasive disease in androgen deprivation therapy-resistant PCa and prevent PCa progression.

Innate immunity pathways involving locally produced and circulating chemokines/cytokines are known to be intimately involved in the progression to aggressive and advanced PCa. ALT identified extracellularly secreted NAMPT (eNAMPT) as a key innate immunity regulator and potent inflammatory cytokine via binding to the Toll-like receptor 4.

“We are excited about the findings conveyed in our EBio Medicine publication for several reasons. First, Aqualung may have identified a novel biomarker that alone, or potentially combined with PSA, may determine men at higher risk of developing metastatic PCa. Second, eNAMPT is obviously a novel, highly druggable PCa target for our humanized eNAMPT-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies ALT100/200, a priority for internal drug development” says CEO and founder Joe GN Garcia MD.

“ALT-200 potentially addresses a key unmet medical need for PCa patients who are part of the “watch and wait” regimen after the early diagnosis of PCa. Our antibody and biomarker platform could be a game-changer for this patient group with potentially evolving metastatic disease. If we have a drug therapy to slow this progression based on neutralizing eNAMPT, this may prolong PCa confinement within the gland.”