Auron Therapeutics aims to cure cancer by radically changing the paradigm of cancer therapeutics from cell killing to transformation of malignant cells into more normal functioning cells. This transformation, called differentiation therapy, reactivates endogenous cellular programs to elicit tumor cell maturation and reprogram cancer tissue to a more normal phenotype.
Differentiation agents have proven remarkably effective in hematologic malignancies. In acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), previously the deadliest form of acute myeloid leukemia, the differentiation agents all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) lead to 98% cure rates through differentiation of malignant promyelocytes into non-cancerous cell neutrophils. Similarly, treatment of IDH mutant AML with IDH inhibitors leads to durable remissions, transfusion independence, and myeloid blast differentiation with minimal toxicity.
Auron Therapeutics will rapidly identify molecular targets and develop therapies that induce cellular differentiation through integration of large, multi -omic datasets derived from primary human patient samples. Although our initial focus will be in AML, differentiation therapy is applicable to all human cancers whether solid or hematologic tumors. The development of novel differentiation therapies and a cure to cancer is within reach through this integrative approach to transformative translational research.