Adherex Technologies, a biopharmaceutical firm focused on cancer treatments, has received another patent for its oncology portfolio.

The patent covers “Compounds and Methods for Cancer Therapy” and includes the use of its proprietary cancer therapeutic agents to improve drug delivery to tumors by preventing a cell adhesion protein, known as occludin, from forming cellular barriers within tumors.

Adherex said the patented method may also improve the ability of immune cells to infiltrate tumors.

“Cancerous tumors have evolved sophisticated mechanisms for fighting off attempts to kill them,” said Orest Blaschuk, chief scientist and co-founder of Adherex in a statement. “Some tumors are able to form barriers that prevent foreign materials, such as drugs or antibodies, from getting inside them, thus reducing the effectiveness of those therapeutics.

“These barriers form in some tumors due to a protein, known as occludin, which acts as ‘glue’ that tightly binds tumor cells together,” he added. “This patent covers the use of our technologies to knock down those occludin-based barriers, enabling drugs and the body’s immune cells to more easily get inside tumors and attack them.”