The purpose of the ALDESCREEN project is to develop an early diagnosis test for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for over 80% of all lung cancer cases. Advanced BioDesign is a biotech firm specialized in developing a novel targeted therapy for cancers resistant to standard treatments.
Its main anti-carcinogenic compound, DIMATE, is a first-in-class aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) inhibitor. The ALDH enzyme enables cancer cells to detoxify themselves by recycling potentially harmful molecules. By inhibiting this enzyme, DIMATE induces apoptosis in cancer cells but does not damage healthy cells at therapeutic doses.
Advanced BioDesign is preparing to test it in phase I in acute myeloid leukemia, but also has evidence of the efficacy of its flagship molecule against solid tumors like NSCLC.
“We have developed a fast, simple and innovative method of detecting lung cancer by means of biomarker measurement, which facilitates diagnosis and prognosis and enables more personalized treatment,” says Ismail Ceylan, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Advanced BioDesign.
Aldehyde dehydrogenases form a highly diverse family of enzymes, and their involvement in tumor initiation, therapeutic resistance and the malignant behavior of cancer is well-known and widely documented by researchers. “When ALDH1 activity is high, the cancer cell is able to detoxify the aldhehydes generated by its activity and therefore has a greater chance of resisting and surviving chemotherapy treatment,” adds Ismail Ceylan.
To measure ALDH1 levels in lung cancer, starting in January 2022, blood samples will be taken from 200 to 300 newly diagnosed chemotherapy patients in the “Multidisciplinary Oncology and Therapeutic Innovation Unit” run by Professor Laurent Greillier at Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille. The vesicles produced by the cancer cells (exosomes) will be analyzed to “to get a clearer idea of the level of ALDH1 activity in the cancer cell itself,” continues the firm’s founder.
In mid-November 2021, Advanced BioDesign won a call for projects backed by the Investments for the Future Program (PIA) and run by BPI, as part of the i-Nov innovation competition. The €425,604 prize money will cover 45% of the ALDESCREEN project development costs for the next three years. The remaining 55% will be financed by long-standing investor Xerys Invest, among others.