Apr 21, 2016
Urothelial Carcinoma (UCC, also known as transitional cell carcinoma) is a cancer that starts in the urothelial cells, which line the inside of the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. According to the American Cancer Society there were over 76,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed and over 15,000 deaths from advanced bladder cancer in the United States in 2014. At stage I, the 5-year survival rate is about 88% but at stage IV, the 5-year survival rate falls to 15%. Poor prognosis and ineffective therapies for patients with advanced bladder cancer make the discovery of new drugs very important for the treatment of this common disease.
In a pioneering study published last month in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, researchers at Agensys Inc. identified the SLITRK6 protein as a new UCC biomarker and developed a novel antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting SLITRK6 for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer. Recent advances in the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology and two recently approved ADCs have brought this drug class to the forefront of drug development in oncology.