Independent Researchers Find Genprex’s TUSC2 Prevents Tumor Growth in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

In Clinical Trials by Barbara Jacoby


Genprex, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNPX), a clinical-stage gene therapy company, announced that independent researchers reported in a recent study that TUSC2, a tumor suppressor gene and the active agent in Genprex’s Oncoprex™ immunogene therapy, prevented tumor growth in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is currently considered an incurable cancer with limited therapeutic options. Genprex has no affiliation with these researchers.


The study, published in Nature, first found MicroRNA-138 as a diagnostic biomarker for TNBC, which currently lacks targeted therapies due to its inability to express the estrogen and progesterone hormone receptors and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), thus the name for triple-negative breast cancer. Depletion of miR-138 was found to lead to apoptotic cell death in vitro and prevented tumorigenesis in vivo. TUSC2 was found to be a direct target of miR-138, and TUSC2 mimics the effects of miR-138 knockdown, preventing tumor growth. The researchers deduced that TUSC2 is a downstream tumor suppressor that is directly repressed by miR-138.

The study reports that triple-negative breast cancer is an extremely aggressive subtype of breast cancer which is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality rates. The lack of targeted treatment for triple-negative breast cancer makes it an increasingly feared diagnosis.

Genprex is conducting clinical and pre-clinical research to evaluate the effectiveness of TUSC2 when combined with targeted therapies and immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Existing pre-clinical data also suggest that TUSC2 may be effective against glioblastoma, head and neck cancer, kidney cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas. Now, this new independent study raises the possibility that TUSC2 expression, through miR-138 targeting, may also be used to treat the most aggressive subset of breast cancer.

“The results of the study evaluating TUSC2 for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer are encouraging,” said Rodney Varner, Genprex’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that the data reported in this Nature article by independent researchers supports our belief that TUSC2 may be effective to treat a variety of cancers, including some of the most deadly types of cancer.”

About Genprex, Inc.

Genprex, Inc. is a clinical stage gene therapy company developing potentially life-changing technologies for cancer patients, based upon a unique proprietary technology platform, including Genprex’s initial product candidate, Oncoprex™ immunogene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Genprex’s platform technologies are designed to administer cancer fighting genes by encapsulating them into nanoscale hollow spheres called nanovesicles, which are then administered intravenously and taken up by tumor cells where they express proteins that are missing or found in low quantities. Oncoprex has a multimodal mechanism of action whereby it interrupts cell signaling pathways that cause replication and proliferation of cancer cells, re-establishes pathways for apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells, and modulates the immune response against cancer cells. Oncoprex has also been shown to block mechanisms that create drug resistance. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at or follow Genprex on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.