The world scientific community has great expectations for the development of precise (targeted) medicine. The personalized treatment considers individual genetic traits of the patient and specific defects in the patient’s cellular processes. Our company has been developing new approaches to targeted diagnostics. We connect cancer cure with the development of early diagnostics of cancer, and, most importantly, pre-cancerous conditions. Diagnostics of the pre-cancerous conditions have the potential of preventing the disease altogether. The difficulties of cancer treatment are caused, mainly, by two factors. The first factor is a large variety of mutations that cause cancer development and are difficult to identify. The second factor is accumulation of the intracellular damage effects. The symptoms of the disease appear at a late stage, when the number of malignant cells has already catastrophically increased because of the environmental factors, aging, and other causes.
According to our predictions, by 2030-2040, a therapy controlling development of cancer at an early stage or even curing it will become available for half of all cancer patients. The life span and quality of life will be significantly improved for the remaining cases. To achieve these goals, Novel Software Systems and our partners in research laboratories have obtained significant and meaningful results. The Company portfolio contains both the applied and fundamental developments.
Targeted destruction of cancer cells.
In 2010, our partners identified and described the previously unknown class of human genes that do not encode protein products, and named it VLINC – the Very Long Intergenic Non-Coding class of genes.
These genes are located in the so-called junk DNA. For a long time, the function of this part of human DNA representing more than 90% of the genome has not been investigated. Our research identified interesting properties of VLINC genes that have fundamental significance.
- First, they occupy at least 10% of the human genome.
- Second, they are most active in the cancer cells and in the embryonic stem cells.
- Third, many of them are controlled by the residual retroviral elements that have been integrating into our genome over the course of several million years.
- Fourth, targeted suppression of some VLINC genes in cancer cells leads to apoptosis, the programmed cell death.
Thus, activation of the genome regions normally expressed only during the embryonic development in the somatic cells represents the cause (or the consequence) of cancer development in some cases. The current technologies allow us to observe activation of any gene, including VLINC genes. We are currently working on identification of the specific VLINC genes that represent reliable indicators (markers) of various types of cancers, and search for the non-toxic compounds that specifically repress these genes. The preliminary laboratory investigations demonstrated success of this approach.
Immunosignature – a promising prototype of early diagnostics.
In 2017 our company developed a prototype approach to the diagnostics of the pre-cancerous state using the human antibody screening. This approach is based on a high-throughput Immunosignature technology developed at Arizona State University, U.S.A. This technology allows rapid and affordable estimation of the number of hundreds of thousands of antibodies in the patient’s blood sample using standard laboratory techniques and a specialized chip.
Our experts converted this information into a highly precise risk estimate for the patient. The beauty of new technology is that it allows obtaining risk estimate for not only cancer, but for multiple diseases, using one diagnostic run. The patient provides one blood sample and receives a reliable prediction for the near future. It opens wide possibilities for early diagnostics and prevention of the disease. At this point, we have completed development of this methodology for the diagnostics of breast cancer.
Antibodies from human blood can serve as markers not only for disease, but also for the environmental exposure. This technology opens new possibilities in the forensic medicine.
We are working on improvements in the stability of the mathematical prediction models, developing the cloud service for performing the analysis online, and performing independent testing of the technology on hundreds and thousands of samples. The further development of the methodology requires standardizing of technical manipulations. We invite partners interested in improving the method to join in collaboration.
The modern cell-based technologies support development of new anti-cancer therapies based on the patient’s own immune cells. Essentially, it represents artificial training of the patient’s immune system. Immune cells taken from the patient are cultured in the presence of tumor antigens or with the specialized highly antigenic constructs to promote the attack of cancer cells. The activated immune cells are used as a cell-based vaccine. The only example of such a vaccine approved for clinical applications at the end of 2017 is Sipuleucel-T, a specialized recombinant protein used for activating immune cells in the prostate cancer patients. Cell-based immunotherapies are not yet available for other cancer types, although the researchers are currently actively pursuing new therapeutics and approaches. Possibly in the future, these approaches will replace highly toxic chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Our experts have experience in the design of highly immunogenic artificial antigenic constructs, which can be used for developing new experimental strategies for personalized active anti-cancer immunotherapies. Several artificial antigens, developed by our experts, have demonstrated the ability to induce development of specific immune response and the cancer cell lysis in the laboratory setting. We are ready to collaborate with research institutes and pharmacological companies interested in the development of new strategies for anti-cancer therapies.