20-year-old project delivers cancer breakthrough

About 20 years ago, Harvard researcher Donald Ingber accidentally stumbled on a mold that demonstrated a remarkable ability to prevent the growth of small blood vessels. That fungus went on to become TNP-470, an experimental therapy in development with Takeda that never could live up to its promise to prevent the growth of cancerous tumors because each dose would quickly disappear from the body.

Now, though, a team of scientists working with the legendary scientist Judah Folkman, who died recently, discovered that by using nanotechnology they could add two polymers to the therapy that would keep it in the system long enough to have a therapeutic effect. And TNP-470--now called lodamin--has demonstrated a remarkable ability to target tumor cells in a new approach that could be effective against a broad range of cancers. The drug is now licensed to SynDevRx in Cambridge, MA.

"When I looked at the livers of the mice, the treated group was almost clean," said Ofra Benny of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical. "In the control group you couldn't recognize the livers--they were a mass of tumors."

- check out the report from Red Orbit