Milwaukee, April 8, 2022 – A new therapy studied at the Wisconsin Medical College (MCW) Cancer Center has conducted a clinical trial for the treatment of glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, but the most common primary brain tumor in adults.
Despite decades of research worldwide, only incremental gains have been made to prolong or improve the quality of life for glioblastoma patients. Treatment options are limited and usually include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Now, a new open clinical study at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin will evaluate an alternative treatment given by mouth.
The treatment evolved from years of research led by Christopher Chitambar, MD, and his lab to study iron-dependent processes in cancer biology and the mechanisms by which gallium compounds target iron metabolism and block iron growth of malignant cells. In preclinical studies, Drs. Chitambar and Kathleen Schmainda, PhD, found that when given intravenously, gallium maltolate (GaM) significantly slowed the growth of glioblastoma in a rat brain tumor model. Additional studies have shown that GaM, administered orally in rats with glioblastoma, significantly reduced the size of their tumors and prolonged their survival.
GaM, originally developed by Harvard- and Stanford-trained scientist Lawrence R. Bernstein, Ph.D., is an orally available form of metallic gallium, which in the body shares many chemical properties with the form highly oxidized iron, Fe(III). Numerous studies examining the relationship between iron and cancer show that increased levels of iron in the body may be associated with increased risk and severity of cancer, due to cancer cells’ reliance on iron to multiply and spread. Due to gallium’s similarity to Fe(III) (the form of iron absorption by cancer cells), cancer cells absorb gallium instead of iron, preventing their multiplication, ultimately leading to their death.
“The finding that GaM has anticancer activity against glioblastoma in preclinical studies is extremely exciting; this opens the door for its development as a drug for the treatment of glioblastoma in patients,” says Christopher Chitambar, MD, professor emeritus of medicine and biophysics, division of hematology and oncology at MCW. “The anticancer mechanism of GaM also applies to other solid tumors,” he adds.
Jennifer Connelly, MD, associate professor of neurology at MCW, is the principal investigator (PI) of the clinical trial with Dr. Chitambar as co-PI and chair. Both are longtime collaborators of Kathleen Schmainda, PhD, co-founder of Imaging Biometrics, LLC and recognized leader in brain tumor imaging. Dr. Bernstein is participating as a co-investigator.
The trial is sponsored by Imaging Biometrics, with supporting grants from the Musella Brain Tumor Foundation and the MCW Cancer Center. Based in Elm Grove, WI, Imaging Biometrics is a wholly owned subsidiary of IQ-AI Ltd.
With more than a decade of experience in quantitative brain tumor imaging analysis, including analysis of multiple multi-center national trials, Imaging Biometrics will provide image analysis solutions to assess response to GaM . “We are working with an excellent team of scientists and clinicians, and everyone is eager to move this study forward,” said Michael Schmainda, CEO of Imaging Biometrics.
The trial, conducted at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, is currently accepting participants and has an expected completion date of December 2025.
About Medical College of Wisconsin
With a history dating back to 1893, the Medical College of Wisconsin is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research, and community engagement. More than 1,500 students are enrolled in MCW’s medical and graduate programs in Milwaukee, Green Bay and central Wisconsin. MCW’s School of Pharmacy opened in 2017. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and the second largest in Wisconsin. Over the past ten years, faculty have received more than $1.6 billion in external support for research, teaching, training, and related purposes. This total includes highly competitive National Institutes of Health (NIH) research and training grants. Each year, MCW faculty lead or collaborate on more than 3,100 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,650 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine to more than 4 million patients each year.
ABOUT Imaging Biometrics, LLC
Imaging Biometrics®, a subsidiary of IQ-AI Limited (OTCQB: IQAIF, LON: IQAI), develops and delivers visualization and analysis solutions that enable clinicians to better diagnose and treat disease with greater confidence. Through close collaboration with top researchers and clinicians, sophisticated advances are translated into automated, platform-independent software plug-ins that can extend the core functionality of workstations, imaging systems, PACS or medical viewers. By design, IB’s advanced visualization software integrates seamlessly into routine workflows. For more information about Imaging Biometrics, visit the company’s website at www.imagingbiometrics.com.
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