By Kimberly Adams, Benzinga
The human body has healthy cells that reproduce to replace damaged or missing cells in the tissues. Cancer starts when one of those cells begins to have an abnormal reaction that causes it to reproduce perpetually. It takes approximately one billion of these cancer cells to end up with a ¾-inch tumor. So, imagine how many cancer cells a 2-inch tumor gets. If you don’t kill all these cancer cells, a single cancer cell left could cause the cancer to come back.
When tumors grow, blood vessels in the tumor begin to malfunction, becoming chaotic and often collapsing. Drugs and immune cells need blood vessels to reach all cancer cells in a tumor, however, unfortunately, there are regions of the tumor where cancer cells are totally inaccessible. These regions are called hypoxic zones – where the level of oxygen is extremely low – and this is where the cancer stem cells are located. It is very important for a cancer treatment to eliminate cancer stem cells because they are the major driver of metastasis in the patient’s body and resistance to treatment. It is well documented that systemic chemotherapy or immunotherapy fails to reach hypoxia zones to kill cancer stem cells. The reason is simple – if there are no blood vessels to bring drugs or immune cells next to a cancer cell, the counter-tumor action cannot work because drugs or immune cells are not self-propelled to travel by themselves in the interstitial spaces of the tumor tissues. Of course, when the blood vessels in a tumor are not too damaged and hypoxic zones are still absent, patients see treatments showing some efficacy. But the problem is that cancer diagnostics often come too late and hypoxic zones are too often already present in the tumor at the patient’s first exam.
This is where Starpax’s never-before-seen extraordinary technology comes in – to address specifically this problem of reaching cancer cells in hypoxic zones. Starpax Magnetodrones™ are self-propelled, meaning they can swim in the interstitial space of tumor tissues without the need for blood vessels. The Magnetodrones are proprietary nonpathogenic Starpax living bacteria (Bn1-S™) developed in-laboratory, conceived to transport FDA-approved anticancer molecules attached to their surface. They are injected directly into the tumor, not in the blood vessels. They are sensitive to very special magnetic fields generated by the Starpax Polartrak™, a medical device invented by Starpax in which the patient is installed. The Polartrak creates unique patented virtual monopole magnetic fields vectors that control the trajectory of the Magnetodrones in 3D with millimetric precision inside the tumor in order to force them to spread throughout the whole volume of the tumor while they release drugs to the cancer cells on their path.
Also, the PolarTrak is conceived to create a magnetic sphere around the tumor that keeps the Magnetodrones captive inside the tumor, thus aiming to avoid toxicity to the rest of the patient’s body and typical side effects of systemic treatments that could damage healthy tissues and organs. Another specific characteristic of the Magnetodrones is they are aerotactic – that means they search for a low level of oxygen to be comfortable. The Magnetodrones have been developed to live in a culture media with an excessively low oxygen level which is the same as the oxygen level in a hypoxic zone. So, when they pass by a hypoxic zone, they stop swimming, penetrate and accumulate into it to deliver anticancer drug to stem cells inaccessible by current systemic treatments or even immune cells. Since stem cells do not divide in hypoxia zones – The Magnetodrones bring a specific drug molecule into this area that reverses chemoresistance of the hypoxic zones in order to destroy stem cells. Magnetodrones cannot proliferate in the human body as they die within 60 minutes after the injection because the temperature of the human body is too high for them to survive.
Having reached 100% remission rate and no side effects observed in their preclinical studies, Starpax is confident of achieving similar results in its human clinical studies scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2024.
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