Therapeutics Collaborations

QIMR BERGHOFER IS DEVELOPING THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONS FOR A NUMBER OF DISEASE AREAS

G9a

Breast cancer is the leading cause of female cancer deaths worldwide and with an estimated 1.7 million new cases every year. The histone methyltransferase enzyme G9a is over expressed in many malignancies, including breast cancer, and effects regulation of genes involved in tumour progression. G9a is also an epigenetic regulator of the known oncogene MYC; long viewed as a potential target for novel therapeutics. QIMR Berghofer researchers, in partnership with drug discovery CRO Domainex, have developed a small molecule inhibitor of G9a which shows promising in vitro and in vivo efficacy against breast cancer. We have demonstrated that tumours derived from tamoxifen resistant cell lines are re-sensitised to tamoxifen when combined with a G9a inhibitor, with the combination inducing tumour regression.

Read More
(click to download PDF)

 

IL-18

Despite recent advances in anti-myeloma drugs, multiple myeloma (MM) remains an incurable cancer.  There will be a 1.6-fold increase in the number of MM patients from 2010 to 2030 due to population aging, highlighting the pressing need for effective therapy.  Recent clinical trial results suggest that immunotherapy will play a key role in disease control of MM. In-depth understanding of the immune microenvironment of MM will provide a clue to identify a new therapeutic target for immunotherapy. Researchers at QIMR Berghofer have established the preclinical platform to assess efficacies of immunotherapy and anti-myeloma drugs, using syngeneic transplantable MM models and various gene-targeted mice. Our comprehensive profiling of the pro-inflammatory molecules in the MM BM will be an important platform to design a new therapeutic approach.     

Read More
(click to download PDF)

MR1

Mucosal associated invariant T cells (MAIT cells) are a subset of unconventional T cells that require MHC class I–related protein 1 (MR1) for their development and function. QIMR Berghofer researchers have identified a new mechanism for MAIT cells in promoting tumour growth. Contradicting the perception that MAIT cells kill tumour cells, we showed that MAIT cells promoted tumour initiation, growth, and metastasis. Through this work, we have identified a promising novel target, MHC class I-like protein (MR-1) that, when blocked, prevents activation of MAIT cells to mediate immunosuppression which results in enhanced anti-tumour immunity. MR1-blocking antibodies reduced tumour metastases and growth, and may represent a new class of cancer therapeutics.     

Read More
(click to download PDF)

Inflammatory Response Protein

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are a spectrum of chronic and debilitating immune-mediated inflammatory disorders with multi-factorial pathogenesis. Clinical remission is only achieved in a relatively small percentage of patients (usually less than 30%), highlighting the need for new therapeutic approaches. QIMR Berghofer researchers have discovered a novel mediator of inflammation. Targeting IRP via blocking its function using an antagonist antibody is a novel approach to dampening inflammation in IBDs.

Read More
(click to download PDF)

PDL2

Immunotherapies work by stimulating the immune system to kill only cancer cells. When PD1 on T cells binds PDL1 on DCs or tumour cells, T cells stop functioning. Antibodies directed against PD1 “take the brakes off” the immune system, allowing T cells to mount an effective attack against cancer. However many patients do not respond to anti-PD1 therapy. Recent studies have shown that PDL2, unlike PD-L1, is not a brake on the immune system. A novel multimeric form of soluble PDL2 protein (sPDL2) has been developed at the QIMR Berghofer. Our novel sPDL2 protein is an innovative therapy which both effectively blocks the PD1/PDL1 pathway due to the multimeric nature of PDL2 and directly activates T cells. Our companion diagnostic would significantly improve the accuracy of selecting patients who would respond.

Read More
(click to download PDF)

Heartdyno

2D culture models have failed to recapitulate the complex biology and pathophysiology of human disease. This contributes towards drug candidate failures at the costly clinical phases of development. Researchers at QIMR Berghofer have developed a novel 96-well platform for the fabrication culture and analysis of contractile, 3D human cardiac organoids. This culture platform is adaptable to other organoid cultures including skeletal muscle and neural tissue.

Read More
(click to download PDF)