Novocure (NASDAQ: NVCR) today announced the recipients of the 3rd Annual AACR-Novocure Grants for Tumor Treating Fields Research program. The program represents a joint effort between Novocure and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to promote and support innovative research on Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields). The AACR is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer.
Such collaborations help to deepen the understanding of TTFields’ mechanism of action and to identify its optimal use. Extensive preclinical and clinical evidence provides the foundation upon which Novocure executes its strategy to advance TTFields through additional clinical research studies across multiple solid tumor types.
Professor Maurizio D'Incalci, M.D., of Humanitas University in Italy is one of the grant recipients. He and his team’s hypothesis is that the sensitivity of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cells to TTFields is related to the modulation of genes and pathways involved in cell proliferation and survival. Their research will investigate the potential synergism of TTFields with selected anticancer drugs in MPM based on the mechanistic insights.
“While great progress has been made regarding the research and development of Tumor Treating Fields, there is still more to learn and understand to continue deepening the science,” Professor D'Incalci said. “We are excited to have begun our research and look forward to sharing the results.”
The program includes research grants and career development awards totaling more than $2 million over the next three years. The research grants include six AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Fields Research Grants and two AACR-Novocure Career Development Awards for Tumor Treating Fields Research. Recipients of the research grants will receive a total of $100,000 to $250,000 over one to two years. Recipients of the career development awards will receive a total of $225,000 over three years.
“We are so proud of this year’s recipients of the AACR-Novocure Grants for Tumor Treating Fields Research,” said Asaf Danziger, Novocure’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are honored to collaborate with the AACR as we continue to deepen our understanding of the mechanism of action of Tumor Treating Fields. We wish great success to the recipients as they conduct this important work.”
2021 AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Fields Research Grants
- Spencer J. Collis, Ph.D.; University of Sheffield (United Kingdom); TTFields-based DDRi combinations to overcome spatiofunctional heterogeneity
- Maurizio D'Incalci, M.D.; Humanitas University (Italy); TTFields in mesothelioma: mechanisms and novel rational drug combinations
- Chang-Young Jang, Ph.D.; Sookmyung Women's University (South Korea); Identification of new target of TTFs in mitosis for therapeutic application
- Sara G.M. Piccirillo, Ph.D.; University of New Mexico; The impact of Tumor-Treating Fields on residual disease in glioblastoma
- Claudio E. Tatsui, M.D.; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Tumor Treating Fields in the therapy of spinal metastases
- Suhe Wang, M.D., Ph.D.; University of Michigan; Natural electrical fields treatment to induce immune modulation in NSCLC
2021 AACR-Novocure Career Development Awards for Tumor Treating Fields Research
- Gerben Borst, M.D., Ph.D.; University of Manchester (United Kingdom); Unraveling the cell cycle effect of TTFields towards synergistic strategies
- Jared A. Weis, Ph.D.; Wake Forest University; Characterizing effects of TTFields on cell-extracellular matrix biophysics
About Tumor Treating Fields
Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, are electric fields that disrupt cancer cell division.
When cancer develops, rapid and uncontrolled division of unhealthy cells occurs. Electrically charged proteins within the cell are critical for cell division, making the rapidly dividing cancer cells vulnerable to electrical interference. All cells are surrounded by a bilipid membrane, which separates the interior of the cell, or cytoplasm, from the space around it. This membrane prevents low frequency electric fields from entering the cell. TTFields, however, have a unique frequency range, between 100 to 500 kHz, enabling the electric fields to penetrate the cancer cell membrane. As healthy cells differ from cancer cells in their division rate, geometry and electric properties, the frequency of TTFields can be tuned to specifically affect the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells mostly unaffected.
Whether cells are healthy or cancerous, cell division, or mitosis, is the same. When mitosis starts, charged proteins within the cell, or microtubules, form the mitotic spindle. The spindle is built on electric interaction between its building blocks. During division, the mitotic spindle segregates the chromosomes, pulling them in opposite directions. As the daughter cells begin to form, electrically polarized molecules migrate towards the midline to make up the mitotic cleavage furrow. The furrow contracts and the two daughter cells separate. TTFields can interfere with these conditions. When TTFields are present in a dividing cancer cell, they cause the electrically charged proteins to align with the directional forces applied by the field, thus preventing the mitotic spindle from forming. Electrical forces also interrupt the migration of key proteins to the cell midline, disrupting the formation of the mitotic cleavage furrow. Interfering with these key processes disrupts mitosis and can lead to cell death.
TTFields is intended principally for use together with other standard-of-care cancer treatments. There is a growing body of evidence that supports TTFields’ broad applicability with certain other cancer therapies, including radiation therapy, certain chemotherapies and certain immunotherapies. In clinical research and commercial experience to date, TTFields has exhibited no systemic toxicity, with mild to moderate skin irritation being the most common side effect.
Fundamental scientific research extends across two decades and, in all preclinical research to date, TTFields has demonstrated a consistent anti-mitotic effect. The TTFields global development program includes a network of preclinical collaborators and a broad range of clinical trials across all phases, included four phase 3 pivotal trials in a variety of tumor types. To date, more than 18,000 patients have been treated with TTFields.
Novocure is a global oncology company working to extend survival in some of the most aggressive forms of cancer through the development and commercialization of its innovative therapy, Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields). TTFields are electric fields that disrupt cancer cell division. Novocure’s commercialized products are approved for the treatment of adult patients with glioblastoma and malignant pleural mesothelioma. Novocure has ongoing clinical trials investigating Tumor Treating Fields in brain metastases, gastric cancer, glioblastoma, liver cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer.
Headquartered in Jersey, Novocure has U.S. operations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Malvern, Pennsylvania and New York City. Additionally, the company has offices in Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Israel. For additional information about us, follow @Novocure on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes 48,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 127 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops—the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting, with more than 74,000 attendees for the 2020 virtual meetings and more than 22,500 attendees for past in-person meetings. In addition, the AACR publishes nine prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.
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