Pancreatic cancer has an unfavorable prognosis, largely due to late diagnosis. Aptamers (APs) provide a means of targeting imaging reagents specifically to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which should enable early diagnosis and thereby improve patient prognosis. This method of early detection of PDAC has the objective of developing AP-targeted nanoparticles (NPs) to deliver near infrared (NIR) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents directly to tumor cells. By coupling the APs to various delivery platforms, this technology should enable: (1) early diagnosis of PDAC (and cancers which uniformly express the CCKB receptor) and (2) efficient targeted delivery of therapeutic reagents.
This product would be used in medical imaging facilities, and manufacturing costs would be much lower than current MRI reagents. There were about 49,000 new cases of PDAC in 2015, with 40,560 deaths, and a low 5-year survival rate of 2.4%. Mean healthcare costs for patients with metastatic PDAC were $21,637/month vs. $10,358/month for those without metastatic disease. If 50% of diagnoses are shifted to earlier stages, this would save $2.7 billion annually.
A provisional patent application (62/279,947) has been filed describing the APs selected for the CCKBR (PSU Inv. Disc. No. 20154386) and a separate continuation-in-part has been filed on strategies to encapsulate a variety of compounds into calcium phosphate nanoparticles (PSU Inv. Disc. No. 20164422). Keystone Nano currently has licensed the calcium phosphosilicate nanoparticles.