Cancer drug developer Invion (ASX: IVX) has announced results from recent animal studies that demonstrate the potential for its photosensitiser technology to treat metastatic cancer.
The company is collaborating with Hudson Institute of Medical Research to advance its trademarked Photosoft technology, a form of photodynamic therapy which uses light and oxygen to kill malignant cells.
Hudson has now completed initial in vivo (living subjects) experiments on animals to examine the uptake, localisation and clearance from tumour tissue of Invion’s photosensitiser, IVX-PO2.
Invion revealed on Tuesday that the testing demonstrated uptake of IV-PO2 in circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which are cells that have shed from a primary tumour and are carried around the body in the blood.
According to Hudson’s group head of the Ovarian Cancer Biomarkers Research Group Dr Andrew Stephens, this is a significant finding because it suggests that IVX-PO2 may have an application in the treatment of metastatic cancer, which is cancer that is spread from the original site to different areas of the body.
Dr Stephens this is the first time that photosensitiser accumulation in CTCs have been demonstrated in living test subjects.
“The data suggests the potential application of IVX-P02 for haematological cancers in addition to solid tumours, as well as in therapies designed to prevent recurrence,” he said.
Examples of some haematological cancers, which occur in blood-forming tissue like bone marrow or cells of the immune system, include leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
These types of cancers are currently treated with severe therapies that suppress the immune system and have other harsh side effects.
Dr Stephens said while this new development is still in its early stages, it shows the potential for a less harsh treatment for metastatic cancer patients.
“The important thing is that IVX-P02 is taken up selectively by cancer cells and is not retained in any of the other organs, and in the blood it is taken up selectively by circulating cancer cells and not by red blood cells,” he said.
According to Invion, the test results also showed no toxicity for any dose of INX-PO2, as anticipated. There was also appeared to be no evidence of retention in any other organs, the company reported.
Experiments using IVX-PO2 to treat ovarian cancer are now underway and human trials of IVX-PO2 for the treatment of skin cancer is scheduled to start in the next quarter.
Dr Stephens said initial results are expected to drive the initiation of new clinical trials, particularly for solid tumours that are resistant to chemotherapy.
Invion shares soared 50% on today’s announcement to $0.021 by late morning trade.