Oraya Receives $215K Small Business Grant from NIH for Oraya Therapy

Aug 06 2014

NEWARK, California—Oraya Therapeutics said it has been awarded a $215,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate how Oraya
Therapy, a low voltage stereotactic radiotherapy, and gold nanoparticles can further enhance the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Researchers believe this work could lead to a better understanding of how gold nanoparticles activated by low-energy radiation therapy can act synergistically against cancers, including difficult-to-treat cancers of the eye, without damaging healthy tissue.

Scientists at Oraya will collaborate with scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston) to develop a novel approach to treating wet AMD that uses gold nanoparticles to target neovascular endothelial cells, the key therapeutic target associated with wet AMD. Delivered intravenously, the gold nanoparticles will be tagged with a specific protein capable of homing in on and attaching to the diseased lesions in the eye. Low-energy X-rays will then be delivered to the targeted nanoparticles, activating them to release micrometer-range electrons that blast the diseased cells. Because the distance traveled by the electrons is so limited, researchers believe there will be little or no damage or toxicity to surrounding tissue.

The research, if successful, could provide a significant advancement in treating cancer, as tumors express particular proteins that can be targeted by nanoparticles. Tumors, including those from eye cancers such as retinoblastoma and choroidal melanoma, are characterized by “leaky” neovascular capillaries, similar to those in wet AMD. While these cancers are often treated with radiotherapy, researchers believe using low-energy radiation to activate targeted gold nanoparticles could potentially offer a significant boost to the effectiveness of current radiotherapy
treatment options because the delivered dose to the tumor could be increased without damaging healthy tissue. //

Medical Device Daily, Staff Report, Wednesday, August 6th, 2014