Life sciences company Invion (ASX: IVX) is currently developing a non-immunosuppressive treatment for a range of cancers using its Photosoft technology.
Invion has confirmed that initial characterisation of the technology is now complete under its Research & Development Alliance agreement with the Hudson Institute, a leading Australian medical research institute, based in Melbourne.
The private-public partnership between the emerging biotech firm and one of Australia’s leading medical research facilities was first agreed in March this year as part of an “alliance” aimed at progressing a range of research and development projects.
The institute is home to 470 full-time scientists and students who work together to solve complex problems in human disease.
One of their lines of enquiry has been to test Invion’s Photosoft technology and its next-generation photodynamic therapy (PDT).
PDT uses non-toxic “photosensitisers” and visible light in combination with oxygen to produce cytotoxic-reactive oxygen that kills malignant cells, shuts down tumours and stimulates the immune system.
In contrast to surgery, or radiotherapy and chemotherapy which are mostly immunosuppressive, PDT causes acute inflammation, expression of heatshock proteins, and invasion and infiltration of a tumour by leukocytes.
Invion’s light-based therapy
The technology has been found to be highly effective and could potentially be harnessed to treat multiple cancer types starting with ovarian cancer.
Invion said that as part of the work done at the Institute, spectral characteristics, cellular uptake and clearance, intracellular localisation, dark and photo-toxicity were investigated in multiple ovarian cancer cell lines in both 2D and 3D organoid culture in vitro.
The results showed that Photosoft caused “efficient and highly effective cancer cell destruction in vitro, with 100% cell death achieved in a matter of minutes” following light activation.
Once activated Photosoft caused rapid cancer cell death dependent on time, concentration and light energy. Very importantly, Invion added that in the absence of activation, Photosoft remained non-toxic even at high concentrations.
“The Photosoft characterisation studies demonstrate that Photosoft efficiently produces reactive oxygen species to destroy tumour cells in vitro, and that modulation of light energy can be used to control the mechanism of induced cell death,” said Dr Andrew Stephens, Group Head of the Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Research Group at Hudson Institute.
“Ovarian cancers have a greater than 70% 5-year mortality rate, and patients almost universally develop recurrent, chemo-resistant disease. New therapies are urgently needed and we are very pleased with this early progress under our R&D Alliance Agreement with Hudson Institute. This data lays the groundwork for ongoing preclinical trials of the Photosoft technology as an indication for chemo-resistant, solid ovarian tumours,” said Dr Greg Collier, managing director and CEO of Invion.
Following this morning’s announcement, Invion confirmed that it will be presenting further results of its studies into Photsoft in September 2018 at a “major international conference.”
Further results of these studies will be presented in September 2018 at a major international conference.