Researchers at the University of Sydney have published promising preclinical data, which suggests that a new treatment known as IBL-202 may be effective in targeting the proliferation of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).
CLL is a type of blood cancer caused by the overproduction of a white blood cell type called B-lymphocytes in the bone marrow. Though treatments targeting B-cell production signalling pathways have advanced the treatment outcomes for patients diagnosed with CLL, the disease remains incurable.
It is hoped that IBL-202 can selectively kill CLL cells even despite the hypoxic conditions of the tumour microenvironment, which allows cells in CLL to resist treatment and proliferate. The lead author of the study and expert in CLL research, Dr. Oliver Giles Best, wrote that, “collectively, this data demonstrates that dual inhibition (…) by IBL-202 may be an effective strategy for targeting CLL cells, particularly within the environmental niches known to confer drug-resistance.”
While the University’s research is still in its preclinical stages and has, thus far, only used theoretical conditions mimicking the human CLL environment, the data is encouraging. Future testing in genuine clinical settings will be required before IBL-202 could be offered as a treatment to some of the 904,000 people globally who were affected by CLL in 2015.
The new research, conducted in collaboration with the University, the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Inflection Bioscience Ltd., and a member of the CLL Australian Research Consortium (CLLARC), was published in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed British Journal of Haematology.
The British start-up leading the research, Inflection Bioscience Ltd, is developing a variety of small biomolecule treatments like IBL-202 for treatment of haematological cancers such as CLL and other solid tumours that are treatment resistant. Whilst their treatments are all in preclinical development, the evidentiary outlook for their approach to treatment resistant diseases like CLL is optimistic.