Race Initiates FTO-Directed Kidney Cancer Preclinical Study

  • Race enters a collaborative preclinical research program with The University of Newcastle to explore use of Bisantrene as a novel FTO-directed treatment for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC)
  • Research designed to demonstrate the utility of Bisantrene to treat this dangerous kidney cancer with important unmet clinical needs
  • The project is Race’s second step under Pillar 1 of its Three Pillar strategy, which is aimed at demonstrating Bisantrene’s potential in inhibiting FTO in humans

Race Oncology Limited (“Race”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a new collaborative preclinical research program with The University of Newcastle. The work will be led by eminent cancer researcher, Associate Professor Nikki Verrills, who successfully ran Race’s preclinical breast and ovarian cancer programs (ASX announcements: 24 November 2020, 23 February 2021, 9 March 2021).

This project will use cellular models to investigate Bisantrene as a novel treatment for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), a devastating form of kidney cancer. While there have been major improvements with kidney cancer treatment in recent decades, the five-year survival rate for advanced ccRCC is still as low as ~12%.

Bisantrene has recently been identified as a potent targeted inhibitor of the Fat Mass and Obesity associated protein (FTO). Previous studies have observed that FTO enzyme activity is essential for ccRCC survival and the inhibition of FTO can directly kill more than 90% of ccRCCs.

Race is pursuing Bisantrene therapies targeted at inhibiting FTO in both melanoma and clear cell renal cell carcinoma, as part of its Three Pillar strategy (ASX announcement: 30 November 2020). This work could lead to new kidney cancer treatments with improved safety and efficacy, especially for treatment resistant cancers.

The results of this study will support Phase II human trials of Bisantrene in ccRCC, currently scheduled to begin in Australia in early 2022.

This project is to start immediately with results expected to be reported over the coming 12 months as received by the Company.

“This is a very important project for Race and we are looking forward to collaborating further with Associate Professor Verrills. Recent scientific developments have identified Bisantrene as a potent targeted agent of FTO which offers the possibility of novel treatment options for patients with kidney cancer that can rapidly be translated into the clinic. We are excited about this research which will further our knowledge of Bisantrene and it adds to the FTO-directed preclinical work we have just initiated in melanoma.”

Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Daniel Tillett

Kidney cancer remains one of the most dangerous cancers with approximately 73,750 cases in the USA and 4,193 in Australia in 2020, of which ccRCC makes up approximately 70% of all cases.