Imagine a universe without cancer! Wouldn’t that be nice? No more pain, no more suffering. Unfortunately, we do not live in a dream world. So we have to deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic on top of all the cancers we have been fighting for years now. But there is a new development.
But before we get into what Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, the Chief executive officer of Fortress has done, let’s take a short detour into a few data regarding cancer.
The genetics of cancer
Cancer is an abnormally growing of cells that become harmful to healthy body tissues hence cause more harm than good. The cells malfunctioning is directly linked our DNA, which as you know are the building blocks of our bodies. So it all boils down to our genes are below are the type of gene mutations that could potentially be sources of cancers.
These are the mutations that occur from damage to the genes. And this can occur during a person’s life. For instance, in the case of a breast cell, it can start an abnormal division and form a tumor, which is an abnormal mass.
The cancers that result from this form of mutation causes the disease type called sporadic cancer. These are not passed down from parent to child.
Some of the things that cause these mutations are UV radiation, tobacco, age, and viruses.
A germline mutation is the kind of variation that is passed from parent to child, hence called inherited cancer. This mutation occurs in the sperm cell or the egg cell; accordingly, after conception, the baby develops with the mutated cell dividing everywhere within the body.
Under the above mutations, there are a few specific genes that may result in cancers if they are affected, and they are:
Tumor suppressor genes
These are healthy genes that help our bodies cells divide as they are supposed to, but when they mutate, cancer is most likely the result. The cell then split fast and abnormally, destroying healthy cells.
These are mostly inherited, and they turn a healthy cell into a cancerous one. The first is the HER2, a specialized protein that helps control cancer growth and spread and are found in some cancer cells. The second RAS family makes proteins involved in cell communication, growth, and death.
DNA repair genes
When an error in the DNA occurs and it not fixed, the mistake becomes a mutation which may result in cancer. These mutations may be acquired or inherited.
With that information, now let us take a look at the new deal with Columbia University in the treatment of the genetically driven cancers announced by Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald.
The Fortress Biotech Deal with Columbia University
The deal will help in the study of cancers and other coronaviruses. Fortress Biotech ranked in top 10 of Deloitte’s 2019 technology fast 500 ™, is a significant contributor to this cause. This license is to provide treatment for KRAS-driven cancers at Columbia University.
The new biotech known as Oncogenuity will advance the pre-clinical study to work towards generating more oligonucleotides from the underlying platform. This deal will include two Columbia University researchers, Cary Schwardts and Jeffery Rothman. The pair have previously presented data on the use of the said oligonucleotides to suppress the oncogene transcription.
This transcription entails formulating DNA analogs that are designed to bind to specific gene sequences. The deal is to further the pre-clinical progress that indicated the DNA analogs against the KRAS-G12G and the BRAFV600E that drives necrosis and restricts cancer growth. This model hits directly the tumor-specific gene sequences associated common in most cancers.
The whole idea is to target the cancer-causing genes while avoiding the adverse side effects of other medications. This is the driving force of the initiative.
But that’s not all.
Oncogenuity will be using the new platform to research Coronavirus. Including COVID-19 too. Despite numerous bodies already in-play to fight the ongoing Coronavirus, the platform is still a valid cause that may help the world prepare better for any future outbreaks of the virus.
Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald is optimistic that working with these scientists and physicians from Columbia University will be a success yet again. The two companies have a great history of collaboration as in their partner company Caelum Biosciences, Inc.
If not familiar with Rosenwald himself, the highly successful doctor is the former owner of Cougar Biotechnologies, which he sold [read here] & is now owned by Johnson & Johnson. He’s also an established New York real estate mogul. His past assets value in the billions, leading many to view Fortress Biotech as a promising company to invest in on the stock market. If the new deal with Columbia University pays off as expected, it could skyrocket the value of Fortress Biotech even further. The brand’s first quarter of 2020 was already record-setting.