Based on the work of Raphaël Rodriguez, research director at the CNRS, the start-up SideROS is developing new anti-cancer strategies that target the iron content in stem cells that are resistant to treatment.
"These resistant cancer cells contain more iron and are more metabolically active than others. So we decided to attack them from that angle." explains Raphaël Rodriguez. After assembling a large collection of potential molecules, Raphaël Rodriguez chose salinomycin, obtained by the fermentation of Streptomyces albus bacteria, and especially ironomycin, a synthetic derivative that he has patented. Both capture iron and disrupt the homeostasis of the cell, which is no longer able to maintain the correct levels. The excess of this metal leads to a reaction with oxygen, and the development of molecules that are toxic to the tumour. This eventually activates the cellular death process of the cancer stem cells. Based on this extremely promising and unprecedented approach, Raphaël Rodriguez has created a start-up to promote ironomycin.
SideROS was created in 2019, supported by the CNRS Innovation RISE programme. Sideros means ""iron"" in Greek, but the last three letters ROS are capitalised to stand for Reactive Oxygen Species.
The first human clinical trials are expected to begin in 2022.