eTheRNA plans to run a clinical study with an in vivo, injectable TriMix-mRNA product in triple-negative breast cancer patients.
Triple-negative breast cancer means that the breast cancer cells test negative for the hormone receptors estrogen receptors (ER-) and progesterone receptors (PR-) as well as for HER2 (HER2-). Therefore, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy (such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors) nor to therapies that target HER2 receptors, such as Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab).
An estimated 1 million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually worldwide. Of these, approximately 170000 are found to be triple negative. While the overall 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 90%, the 5-year survival rate for the TNBC subgroup is estimated around 75%.
Triple-negative breast cancers more likely to affect (a) younger people, before age 40 or 50, (b) African-American and Hispanic women, and (c) people with a BRCA1 mutation. Triple-negative breast cancer:
- tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer;
- is characterized by lower five-year survival rates than for other types of breast cancer;
- tends to be higher grade than other types of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Like other forms of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer is treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. There is growing evidence that it might be possible to treat this type of breast cancer with immunotherapy.