Our Scientific Approach

Autophagy is a catabolic process which degrades a cellular own component through the lysosomal machinery. The lysosome, at the heart of the autophagy sytem is important in various processes (cancer, infection…).

In Cancer, they are required in tumor cells for cellular adhesion, motility and signaling, exocytosis, angiogenesis and overall survival, growth, aggressiveness, metastatic potential and drug resistance. Because of their high metabolic rates, rapidly dividing and invasive cancer cells require increased new biomass production to survive. The lysosome is also important for adaptation to nutrient stress as it contains hydrolytic enzymes that play a major role in the degradation of intracellular macromolecules and catabolic (such as autophagy) and anabolic growth. This busy lysosomal behavior leads to alterations in lysosomal structure and function, which, paradoxically, renders cancer cells more sensitive to lysosomal destabilization. In addition, lysosomal enzyme activity is elevated in many tumors compared to adjacent normal tissue, and several reports suggest that lysosomes in tumor cells are more fragile than normal lysosomes.
Therefore, lysosome seems to be a target of interest in the fight against cancers. Targeting lysosomes triggers apoptotic and lysosomal cell death pathways.

In virology, It has been shown that autophagy is activated during virus and bacterial infection and that some viruses can use the autophagy system to facilitate their own replication . Some viruses, such as Coronaviruses are single stranded, positive sense RNA viruses, which induce the rearrangement of cellular membranes upon infection of a host cell. This provides the virus with a platform for the assembly of viral replication complexes, improving efficiency of RNA synthesis.

In october 2016, Yoshinori Ohsumi received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. Professor Maria Masucci of the Nobel Assembly described the science behind the prize:

Source: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2016/prize-announcement
Genoscience Pharma focuses on new approaches disrupting cancer cell lysosomal functions.

Our Every Day Commitment

Our strategy is to improve cancer treatment by discovering and developing new agents targeting the lysosomal compartment of cancer cells. Our goal is to provide new therapeutic options to patients with no alternative.

Despite a significant progress in cancer treatment in the recent years, a high proportion of patients still develops drug resistance and relapse. Therefore, there is a constant need for new therapeutic approaches. Given the altered lysosomal biology in cancer cells, lysosome-targeting agents represent a promising antitumor strategy. Indeed, therapies involving various lysosome-targeting drugs alone or in combination with other chemotherapeutics show remarkable antineoplastic efficacy in various in vitro and in vivo studies and the list of agents interfering with lysosomal compartment constantly expands.

Approach and Technology

Lysosome is a key compartment implicated in cancer cells survival and can contribute precursors for macromolecular synthesis. Changes in lysosomal phenotype and functions are well described among the acquired modifications in cancer cells, making lysosome a target of interest for novel therapies.

Hallmarks of Cancer Targeted by our Technology