NaNots are a new nano-medical platform consisting of in vivo “extractors” that deplete from blood specific molecular signals or signal inhibitors that drive or enable disease progression.
Our first NaNot – which has shown efficacy in a mouse model of Triple Negative Breast Cancer – is an extractor of one class of tumor-generated immune inhibitor. We have also successfully tested a NaNot against a major inflammatory cytokine driving multiple autoimmune diseases.
NaNots are based on several interrelated disciplines, including cell signaling, oncology, immunology, biochemistry and nano engineering, among others. Our team is interdisciplinary and is guided by world-class advisors. We build on thousands of published studies and are also running our own target analyses and clinical studies in addition to our core engineering program.
In this section, you can learn more about NaNots, including how they compare with antibody (Ab) drugs. If you have access to the confidential sections of our site, you can also learn more about the targets that NaNots can extract and which diseases they can potentially treat.
What’s a NaNot?
Diseases & Targets
Our first NaNot – which has shown efficacy in a mouse model of Triple Negative Breast Cancer – is an extractor of one class of tumor-generated immune inhibitor. We are developing NaNots against multiple types of tumor-generated immune inhibitors. Depleting these inhibitors from blood accelerates their migration from the tumor microenvironment, leading to immune attack and tumor regression.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to major antibiotics. Nearly 120,000 MRSA infections and 20,000 associated deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. MRSA infection leads to sepsis in most (75%) of cases. One of the main reasons that MRSA is so difficult to treat is that the bacteria triggers the patient’s immune system to release one of the same immune inhibitors that cancer cells secrete for immune evasion. This means that the same NaNot being developed against this particular immune inhibitor for treating cancer should also have adjunctive utility in the treatment of MRSA.
We have also successfully tested a NaNot against a major inflammatory cytokine driving multiple autoimmune diseases.
Sepsis is an escalating immunologic hyper-response, generally to an infection or injury. The etiology, complications and potential treatment of sepsis are largely independent of the trigger. There is currently no effective treatment for sepsis, which strikes 49 million people per year worldwide and kills 11 million – more than all types of cancer combined. Sepsis is the #1 cause of death in hospital, despite the fact that the stages and molecular drivers of sepsis are well understood. 100+ clinical trials treating sepsis with the existing pharmacopeia and device repertoire have failed. We are developing NaNots against the three main molecular drivers of sepsis.
Other Inflammatory Diseases
Many other diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and others are driven or enabled by the same inflammatory cytokines that are active in sepsis, and thus the same NaNots we’re developing to treat sepsis should have off-the-shelf utility in these other diseases.
The latest studies suggest that aging and age-related diseases are driven in part by “Inflamm-aging”, meaning the cumulative secretion by senescent cells of proinflammatory cytokines. These are mostly the same cytokines that drive sepsis and the above inflammatory diseases, and thus depletion of these cytokines (without neutralizing them systemically using antibody drugs) may slow the rate of aging and reduce the incidence of age-related diseases. Likewise, the senescent cells that secrete these cytokines are known to defend themselves against immune-mediated destruction using many of the same soluble immune inhibitors that cancer cells secrete. Thus the depletion of these inhibitors systemically should facilitate clearance of senescent cells.
Development Time & Cost
The NaNot development process is significantly faster and cheaper than the process of developing antibody drugs. The problem with many drugs is that their targets have both pathogenic soluble and homeostatic membrane forms; drug designers must iterate repeatedly between drug design and animal testing, before arriving at a favorable balance of efficacy and safety. NaNot specificity for soluble target forms greatly simplifies and accelerates the development process.