EpiAxis Therapeutics is pleased to announce it is commencing a pre-clinical collaboration focused on inhibiting Protein Kinase C theta (PKC theta), which could provide a potential new approach to treating cancer.

PKC theta is upregulated in a variety of solid and haematological cancers and is associated with promoting tumour aggressiveness, metastasis, and resistance to therapy. PKC theta also plays an important role in immune regulation.

EpiAxis is collaborating with Dr Hanna Y Irie, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a leading research scientist in the PKC theta cancer sector. Under the collaboration, EpiAxis will provide Dr. Irie with its PKC theta inhibitors for evaluation in breast cancer models.

Mt Sinai oncology

“This is an important collaboration for EpiAxis as we expand our pre-clinical program to advance our PKC theta assets,” said EpiAxis CEO Dr Jeremy Chrisp. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Dr Irie’s team at the Icahn School of Medicine as this complements and strengthens our existing focus on LSD1 in breast cancer.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to validate novel inhibitors against a promising therapeutic target for triple negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive subtype that we have been studying for many years,” said Mount Sinai’s Dr Irie about the partnership with EpiAxis.. “Once validated, we hope to translate these inhibitors for the benefit of patients.”

Dr Irie (above) is a physician-scientist at Mount Sinai’s Tisch Cancer Institute whose research program is focused on identifying, validating, and translating novel therapeutic targets for high-risk breast cancers, especially drug-resistant and metastatic disease. While maintaining an active clinical practice as a breast medical oncologist, she has led translational efforts at Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center, including the creation of the Breast Tumor Biorepository and generation of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of high risk and metastatic breast cancers, particularly triple negative, from diverse populations. Dr Irie’s research team has used phenotypic, genetic, and pharmacologic screening strategies to identify novel candidate therapeutic targets for breast cancer cells that are resistant to current standard-of-care treatments.

Dr Irie has published research papers in Nature Communications, Cell Reports, Cancer Research, NPJ Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Research and Oncotarget, and her research on PKC theta has been supported by the American Association for Cancer Research and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

She received her MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School, where she also completed her post-doctoral research fellowship. Dr Irie completed her clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.