The product pipeline of 4SC includes several epigenetic cancer drugs, which are in various stages of preclinical and clinical development. 4SC focuses on attractive fields such as cancer stem cells and other important molecular signaling pathways that contribute to the development and spread of cancer.
Epigenetic changes modify the activity of genes, but not the genetic code of DNA itself, causing activation and or silencing of genes. This mechanism enables differentiated cells such as those in the lungs, nerves or skin to serve very different functions despite containing identical genetic code.
Epigenetic alterations are as important as genetic mutations in a cell’s transformation to cancer; and their manipulation holds great promise for improving cancer therapy. Epigenetic compounds such as 4SC’s resminostat and 4SC-202 have the potential to convert malignant epigenetic alterations back to a normal or a non-malignant state. For example, treatment with epigenetic cancer compounds interrupts or combats the mechanism that is responsible for the onset of cancer, making cancer cells visible to the body’s own immune system or rendering them more responsive to immuno-oncological treatment.
Cancer Stem Cells
Cancer stem cells, like somatic stem cells, are multi-potent; they are able to self-renew and to generate more differentiated bulk tumor cells. They are also the ʻrootsʼ of the tumor, assuring its sustained growth. If disseminated, they cause metastasis and lead to new tumor lesions.
Cancer stem cells are often resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy and even after section, circulating cancer stem cells are often left behind. The result is a lifelong risk of tumor re-initiation and metastasis. So in order to achieve sustained remission, cancer stem cells must be completely eliminated.
4SC believes that 4SC-208 is a promising drug candidate in the field of cancer stem cells and intends to advance the compound into clinical studies in relevant cancer indications.