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Chemotherapy-Induced Side Effects

Why cancer patients experience them

Chemotherapy targets cells that are cycling, or undergoing the process of cell division: both cancer cells and normal, healthy cells. As a result, chemotherapy destroys both cancer cells (a good thing!) and normal, healthy cells (a bad thing!).

Chemotherapy targets healthy cells and cancer cells that are cycling (i.e., undergoing cell division process)

As a result, both healthy cells and cancer cells are destroyed by chemotherapy

Chemotherapy destroys many different types of healthy cells

Chemotherapy destroys many types of normal, healthy cells throughout the body that naturally undergo rapid cycling: bone marrow, GI tract, and hair follicles, for example. This leads to a wide range of side effects, from unpleasant to life-threatening and fatal.

Severe Neutropenia
Serious infection, fever, sepsis
Severe Anemia
Weakness, fatigue
Severe Thrombocytopenia
Excessive bleeding
Alopecia (Hair Loss)
Hair follicle cells and skin cells destroyed
Mucositis (Mouth Sores)
Epithelial cells lining the oral cavity destroyed
Fatigue, Weakness, Asthenia
Often multifactorial reasons, including general damage to healthy cells throughout the body
Vomiting, Diarrhea, Bloating
Epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract destroyed

Chemotherapy-induced side effects can limit a patient’s ability to fight cancer

Physicians often reduce the dose of chemotherapy and/or delay chemotherapy treatment when the burden of side effects is too harmful or unbearable for patients.

Chemotherapy delays and dose reductions can reduce response rates and survival.

Cancer patients deserve chemoprotection.

Our Approach to Protect Against Chemotherapy-Induced Side Effects

ALRN-6924: A biomarker‑driven, selective chemoprotective medicine

ALRN-6924 is a novel medicine designed to selectively protect healthy cells in patients with cancers that harbor p53 mutations to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy-induced side effects without interrupting chemotherapy’s destruction of cancer cells.

Why we focus on patients with p53 mutated cancer

By treating patients with p53-mutated cancer, we can be sure that we protect only their healthy cells from chemotherapy and not their cancer cells. Here’s why.

ALRN-6924 temporarily pauses cycling in healthy cells, shielding them from chemotherapy

drawing of blue, healthy cells

Healthy cells always have normal p53 thus can be protected

ALRN-6924 does not interrupt the cycling of p53-mutant cancer cells, thus not protecting cancer cells from chemotherapy

purple cancer cells

Cancer cells with mutant p53 are not protected

p53 is a protein that naturally suppresses tumor formation and is called “the Guardian of the Genome” in cancer biology. A p53 mutation is the most prevalent mutation in cancer. About half of all cancer patients have p53-mutated cancer. In certain types of cancer, the percentage of patients with p53-mutated cancer is much higher.

p53, also known as tumor protein 53, comes from the TP53 gene that regulates cell cycling (i.e., the process of cell division) in normal, healthy cells.

In patients with p53-mutated cancer, p53 cannot regulate cell cycle in their cancer cells. But, p53 does continue to regulate cell cycle in their normal, healthy cells. We harness this universal mechanism throughout the body to protect patients’ healthy cells against chemotherapy-induced side effects.

Here's how our selective chemoprotection process works:

drawing - top of body with internal organs

Patient with p53-mutant cancer receives ALRN-6924 before receiving chemotherapy

normal, functional p53 in blue; mutated, non-functional p53 in purple

ALRN-6924 activates normal p53 in healthy cells

graphic depiction of round blue cells

Activated normal p53 up regulates p21, which pauses cell cycling in healthy cells

body with internal organs, slightly darker-colored than the first step

Patient with p53-mutant cancer receives chemotherapy

purple, cancer cells

Chemotherapy’s attack on cancer cells with mutant p53 is uninterrupted

Healthy cells have normal p53. In patients with p53-mutated cancer, ALRN-6924 activates normal p53, which temporarily pauses cell cycle in normal cells. ALRN-6924 cannot work in p53-mutated cancer cells. So, cancer cells continue cycling and chemotherapy continues to target them.

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