A key advantage of our next generation anthracycline, Annamycin, is its lack of cardiotoxicity. To understand just how important this, we need to focus on the critical role cardiotoxicity plays when treating cancer patients, especially children.
The term cardiotoxic refers to drugs that can cause severe, permanent and sometimes fatal damage to the heart.
Cardiotoxicity is a major concern for clinicians as they administer chemotherapy to their patients. Although anthracyclines can cause immediate damage to the heart, the effects of cardiotoxicity are not always immediate. They can show up 5, 10 or 15 years later and the patient can possibly die from heart failure caused by the chemotherapy that was intended to save their life.
When treating a child with a chemotherapy regimen, cardiotoxicity plays an extremely important role as the clinician has to limit dosing due to the potential for heart failure. This can be very restrictive in cases where the cancer is aggressive and there is a need for repeated courses, yet the risk of severe cardiotoxicity is great enough that dosing must be limited. Even after a successful treatment, it is suggested that childhood cancer survivors should visit their doctor yearly for follow-up care because heart conditions may not cause symptoms early on.
Therefore, we believe our lead drug Annamycin is extremely disruptive with its ability to be non-cardiotoxic. Annamycin was designed to avoid the cardiotoxicity that is common with currently approved therapies, and it has been shown to be non-cardiotoxic in animal studies.
We believe this unique characteristic alone increases the chances that we would receive an accelerated approval pathway for the treatment of acute leukemia here in the US, and in Europe.
For clinicians globally, we believe having the ability to treat acute leukemia patients with a drug that is non-cardiotoxic would be a game-changer.