Vancouver, British Columbia – May 12, 2021 – Qu Biologics Inc., a private clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs), a novel platform of immunotherapies designed to restore innate immune function, recently expanded its patent portfolio to include the perioperative use of Qu’s SSIs to overcome immune dysfunction in patients undergoing cancer surgery.
It has long been observed that “immune paralysis” is a phenomenon that occurs following the physical stress of surgery performed for the removal of cancer. During this post-surgical period, cells of the immune system are suppressed, and this immune suppression provides a dangerous window of opportunity for any cancer cells that have been left behind to spread or metastasize unchecked. As a result, post-operative immune dysfunction can lead to cancer recurrence in cancer patients who have undergone surgery to remove their tumours. There are currently no effective treatments that prevent or relieve this post-surgical immune suppression, leaving patients vulnerable to cancer recurrence and metastasis.
The unique ability of Qu’s SSIs to simultaneously program multiple important immune cells to effectively fight malignancy was hypothesized to offer a potential solution for this critical problem. To test this hypothesis, Qu scientists worked with Dr. Rebecca Auer, a world renown surgical oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, whose research is focused on determining how to overcome post-surgical immune dysfunction to improve outcomes of cancer patients. Preclinical studies performed in Dr. Auer’s lab showed that perioperative administration of Qu’s lung-directed SSI preserved anti-cancer immunity and markedly reduced lung metastases in a surgical model.
Dr. Auer is enthusiastic about the prospect of leading a clinical trial to test the perioperative application of SSIs to improve cancer outcomes, “Post-surgical immune suppression continues to present a critical challenge in oncology. To date very few trials have been conducted in the perioperative period, specifically designed to alleviate this immune dysfunction, which can adversely impact outcomes for patients having undergone cancer excision surgery. Given the large number of patients who undergo surgery for cancer every year, this is a significant unmet clinical need. I am hopeful that the SSI approach can transform perioperative management of cancer patients.” Immunologist Dr. Shirin Kalyan, Qu’s Vice President of Scientific Innovation, said, “We have previously shown that SSI treatment, given in the absence of surgery, overcomes cancer-induced immune suppression through innate immune training and NK cell activation, and increases susceptibility of cancer cells to be targeted by immune effector cells. The new evidence from Dr. Auer’s lab that shows perioperative SSI treatment can also serve to overcome post-surgical immune suppression is really akin to hitting two birds with one stone for cancer immunotherapy.”
Dr. Hal Gunn, Qu’s CEO, said, “We are very excited about this important discovery. Since the large majority of cancer patients undergo surgery, perioperative SSI treatment has the potential to transform outcomes for cancer surgery patients. Qu looks forward to working with Dr. Auer and her colleagues in conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial to assess the unique potential of SSIs in the context cancer surgery and we welcome discussions with potential investors and licensing partners.”
About Qu Biologics
Qu Biologics is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSI), a novel class of immunotherapies designed to stimulate an innate immune response in targeted organs to reverse the immune dysregulation underlying many important diseases including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, infection, and inflammatory lung diseases. Qu has completed four Phase 2 studies in lung cancer, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Qu’s 5th Phase 2 study is underway in colon cancer, with three more Phase 2 randomized controlled oncology studies planned in pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
Backed by a prestigious group of scientific advisors and board members, Qu Biologics is led by a management team that includes co-founder and CEO Dr. Hal Gunn, a physician and expert on the body’s immune response to chronic disease; and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, former CEO of the BC Cancer Agency and a distinguished clinician, scientist and leader in cancer control in Canada and internationally. For more information, please visit www.qubiologics.com.
For more information regarding this press release, contact:
Hal Gunn, MD
Qu Biologics Inc.
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