One of the characteristic properties of cancer is that it manages to avoid attack by the immune system. Recent advances in cancer treatment have involved the introduction of immunotherapies, which are drugs that increase the immune system’s activity in fighting cancer. Nevertheless, a large proportion of patients still do not respond to this type of treatment. There is a great need to develop new immunomodulatory drugs that can both increase the efficacy of existing therapies and render insensitive tumor forms treatable.
As the first group in the world, Sprint Bioscience have shown that small molecules inhibiting this protein lead to increased infiltration of immune cells in the tumor. This is a relatively newly discovered mechanism and we aim to be first-in-class with inhibitors of this protein. The increased infiltration of immune cells inhibits tumor growth and has been shown to increase the effect of other immuno-oncological drugs. Patients who respond poorly to immunologic treatment today suffer from low infiltration of immune cells in the tumor.
In August 2021, the project was licensed to the American pharmaceutical company Deciphera Pharmaceuticals.