Thomas McCauley, PhD, on the Potential of Epigenetics for Therapy Development


The chief scientific officer at Omega Therapeutics discussed the importance of understanding more about and researching epigenetics.

“Almost all diseases have some sort of genetic basis to it. Gene expression is regulated in both health and disease, primarily through epigenetic means, by chemical modifications to our DNA. Many of these modifications are laid down as a program in our cells early in our development and are modulated throughout our lives to turn our genes on and off.”

Omega Therapeutics’ MYC-targeted Omega Epigenomic Controller (OEC) exhibited antitumor activity against MYC-expressing tumors in mouse models when combined with checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. These preclinical data were presented by Thomas McCauley, PhD, chief scientific officer, Omega Therapeutics, at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting, held June 2-6, 2023, held both virtually and in Chicago, Illinois.

OTX-2002, Omega’s MYC-targeted, lead OEC candidate, is currently being evaluated in a phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT05497453) as a monotherapy and in combination with standard of care for patients with hepatocellular carcinomaand other MYC-expressing solid tumor types.

CGTLive spoke with McCauley to learn more about the importance of understanding epigenetics and the potential of therapies that affect epigenetics. He described the OECs that Omega is developing, how they are developed, and their characteristics. He compared the development of OECs to small molecule drugs, particularly in finding targets for therapies, the relative ease of finding targets within epigenetics, and how this may enable more rapid drug development.

To read more coverage of ASCO 2023, click here.

Moore Y, Senapedis W, Gallagher K, et al. Effect of MYC-targeting programmable epigenetic mRNA therapeutics on TME and immunotherapy responses. Presented at: 2023 ASCO Meeting; June 2-6; Chicago, Illinois. Poster #437
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