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Press Release 2019


Nitto Denko and Osaka International Cancer Institute

Established a Collaborative Research Department for the Development of New Nucleic Acid Drugs

Nitto Denko Corporation (hereinafter, “Nitto”) and Local Incorporated Administrative Agency Osaka Prefectural Hospital Organization Osaka International Cancer Institute (hereinafter, “Osaka International Cancer Institute”) have established a collaborative research department for the development of new nucleic acid drugs in the laboratories of Osaka International Cancer Institute, and have begun drug development research upon nucleic acid drugs that will become new molecular targeted therapies and immunotherapies for intractable and rare cancers.

The siRNA (*1) drugs which will form the core technology of this research department are a new type of nucleic acid drug that enters cells to operate upon mRNA, the blueprint for proteins. The ability to design drugs corresponding to specific target mRNA has been heralded as a revolutionary new drug development technology, as it allows suppression of the production of disease-causing proteins that cannot be targeted using existing molecular targeted drugs (small molecule drugs and antibody drugs).

Intractable cancers are those for which conventional therapies are ineffective, and the development of new treatments is a pressing issue. At the same time, rare cancers face challenges in terms of research and development into methods for their diagnosis and treatment due to the small numbers of patients involved, and limited treatment options call for the establishment of new therapies. Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system, can in some cases show remarkable results as a cancer treatment, but it is ineffective for some cancers and patients, and there remains a need for developing treatments which enhance its therapeutic effect.

The collaborative research department will integrate Osaka International Cancer Institute’s clinical experience in advanced cancer treatment and drug efficacy evaluation technology using animal models and clinical samples, with Nitto’s nucleic acid drug and drug delivery system (DDS) technologies to develop nucleic acid drugs as revolutionary new siRNA-based molecular targeted therapies and immunotherapies for intractable and rare cancers. In forming this collaboration, we aim to improve cancer treatment outcomes both in Japan and worldwide by eliminating barriers between basic and clinically applied research, and discovering the revolutionary cancer treatments that patients have long awaited.

About Osaka International Cancer Institute

Osaka International Cancer Institute was founded in 1959 under the name of Osaka Prefectural Adult Disease Center, and was the first adult disease center in Japan. It has since progressively specialized in cancer, and changed to its present name upon relocating to Otemae, Osaka in 2017. It is presently designated as the core cancer hospital in charge of cancer treatment in Osaka Prefecture, and treats the largest number of cancer patients in western Japan. In addition, as an advanced treatment hospital, it is required both to provide advanced treatment and to develop medical technologies. It therefore not only provides hospital treatment to cancer patients, but also actively works to research future revolutionary methods of cancer diagnosis and treatment in its laboratories.

About Nitto

Under the slogan of “Innovation for Customers”, Nitto plans to continue expanding their business reach in the next-generation mobility, information interface, and life sciences domains in order to contribute to our customer’s value creation. In the area of life sciences, we are working to develop therapeutic drugs for the intractable diseases of “liver cirrhosis,” “idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis” (*2), and “KRAS mutant cancers” (*3) using our siRNA drug development technology together with DDS technology to deliver siRNA to target organs.

*1: siRNA (small interference RNA) consists of short double-stranded RNA of 21 to 23 residues, and inhibits the expression of a target gene by cleaving a significant part of the gene transcript.
*2: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is an intractable disease of unknown origin in which wounds to the pulmonary alveoli continuously form and heal, causing the alveolar wall (interstitium) to thicken due to increased collagen, etc. It is designated as an intractable disease in Japan
*3: KRAS mutant cancers are intractable cancers seen in certain lung cancers, pancreatic cancers, and colorectal cancers

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