TORONTO, ON (November 13, 2012) — The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and MaRS Innovation (MI) today announced $1.5 million in funding from OICR over three years to further develop Cellax™, a nanoparticle drug that could offer an alternative to chemotherapy with fewer side effects.
“Cellax is promising because it provides a more targeted strategy for treating tumours, killing tumour cells while minimizing the effect on healthy tissue,” said Dr. Rima Al-awar, director, OICR’s Medicinal Chemistry Platform. “OICR is proud to invest in a technology that has such potential to one day improve quality of life for cancer patients.”
Cellax, invented by Dr. Shyh-Dar Li and his research team in OICR’s Medicinal Chemistry Platform group, is a drug-polymer conjugate based on Dr. Li’s proprietary NanoCMC™ technology. These polymers self-assemble into defined nanoparticles and, when injected, selectively accumulate in tumours. Because of this property, the drug is released where it is most needed, increasing therapeutic benefits and reducing the side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy.