Novel Treatment for Breast Cancer
Roughly 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. This year alone, nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with this disease. TTC Oncology may be able to help.
It’s a pharmaceutical company that’s developing a molecule aimed at fighting breast cancer.
Equipped with multiple patents and more than $6 million in funding, TTC Oncology recently completed the first phase of human-based clinical trials. Following encouraging results, the company is seeking capital to enter the second phase of testing and begin discussions toward FDA approval.
TTC Oncology aims to make its novel therapy commercially available in 36 months, then look to be acquired by a large pharmaceutical company.
Notably, TTC Oncology’s drug targets ER+ breast cancer. Here’s what that means:
Roughly 80% of all breast cancer cases are “ER+,” which stands for estrogen receptor positive. This means that cancer cells grow in response to the presence of the estrogen hormone.
These cases are almost always treated with hormonal therapy. The problem is that these treatment options often come with an array of side effects. Complications can range from nausea and muscle pain to blood clots, heart disease, or stroke.
Simply put, these treatment options can cause grave side effects. It’s perhaps why one-third of patents on hormonal therapy discontinue their treatment. And when hormonal therapy is no longer an option, patients must resort to the equally unpleasant, and potentially harmful, chemotherapy.
This is where TTC Oncology aims to make a difference. Its revolutionary drug, TTC-352, interacts with estrogen receptors located on tumor cells. This leads to tumor regression, but without the magnitude of side effects.
In the company’s Phase I study, patients who had failed two or more lines of hormone therapy were administered TTC-352. They each received 28 days’ worth of treatment to determine the safety and efficacy of the drug.
The results included establishing proper safety and dosing levels in order to progress to Phase II testing. Furthermore, TTC Oncology noted progress in patients with heavily pretreated breast cancer cases (a patient population that typically has few effective treatment options).
Multiple patients reported a shrinkage in tumor size, and several were able to go more than 100 days without any feelings or instances of toxicity.
These early results have captured the attention of several leaders in the medical field.
Said Dr. Ruth O’Regan, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester, “TTC-352 provides a novel non-toxic option for patients with hormone-refractory metastatic breast cancer.”
And Dr. Gini Fleming, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Chicago, said “Degree of disease stabilization on TTC-352 in patients… makes this treatment worth pursuing. It it certainly less toxic option than chemotherapy.”
TTC Oncology is seeking additional capital to move forward with Phase II studies. One study will feature 171 patients and further demonstrate the drug’s effectiveness at stabilizing, and even regressing, ER+ breast cancer. The company aims to complete the study by September 2024.
Dr. Dudek has more than 20 years of experience in cancer clinical research. This includes 15 years focused on tumor biology and cancer immunotherapy. His expertise is in the design and execution of clinical trials for cancer therapies.
He has served 16 years in leadership positions in clinical trial offices at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois. In addition to his role with TTC Oncology, he is an author of more than 125 publications in peer-reviewed medical and research journals.
Dr. Dudek holds his MD from the Medical University of Warsaw.
Dr. Tonetti has been a breast cancer researcher for 25 years.
She began her career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Argonne National Laboratory. From there, she became a research assistant professor at Northwestern University.
She then spent 20 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, serving as a professor and interim Biopharmaceutical Sciences Department Head.
Dr. Tonetti earned a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Loyola University of Chicago.
Early in his career, Dr. Thatcher was awarded Graduate Mentor and Innovator of the Year. He completed a Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Fellowship at Oxford University.
Throughout his career, he has been published 140 times and supervised graduate students in the fields of chemical biology, chemical toxicology, and medicinal chemistry. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2003.
In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Thatcher founded a startup that developed a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. He was instrumental in completing clinical trials and eventually sold the company for $35 million.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Victoria University of Manchester and a Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry from the University of Toronto.