Theralase Technologies Inc. is advancing its pioneering studies on anti-cancer therapeutics using its leading technology, the Photo Dynamic Compounds, PDCs, that is equipped with a super-pulsed laser technology. The first clinical studies have showed promising results against colon-cancer.
Theralase, a leader in the development of super-pulsed laser technology, has applied this technology to clinical therapeutics by enhancing the body’s natural healing mechanisms, facilitating pain relieve and reducing inflammation in diseases such as arthritis.
First cancer studies
The company performed its first cancer study with PDCs with in vivo mouse models of colon cancer. Specifically, colon cancer cells were injected into mice (350,000 cells) and tumor formation was allowed until it reached a size of approximately 5 millimeters (mm). The tumors were subjected to PDCs injection followed by their activation by near-infrared (“NIR”) light. The treatment resulted in tumor destruction with no signs of reoccurrence almost two years later (therapeutics began in March of 2012 and recurrence was determined in November 2013). The study was repeated later in 2014 with the results showing a 60% inhibition of tumor regrowth (at days 10 to 23); the other 40% exhibited a slight regrowth, however additional treatment was sufficient to rapidly kill the tumors, suggesting that the first treatment was capable of generating a immune-mediated “memory response” against tumor cells.
In November 2014, Theralase performed further studies to confirm the potential immune-mediated “memory response”. They observed the immune system is modulated in order to enhance a response against tumor primary cells, therefore, representing a potential new avenue of therapeutics to eradicate micro metastasis and control cancer spreading.
Dr. Michael Jewett MD, clinical investigator and uro-oncologist at University Health Network commented in a news release, “Theralase continues to make great strides in the refinement of their PDT technology. I remain excited about the possibilities of this discovery. If research can be replicated in humans and demonstrate the same efficacy that it has in small animals, then the implications are clearly immense.”
Clinical trials to test if the same phenotypes can be observed in humans are due to begin next year. Theralase will initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial with PDCs in bladder cancer. To this end, the company announced a partnership with JSS Medical Research Inc. to plan and complete an FDA / Health Canada Phase I/IIa clinical study in bladder cancer.
A preclinical study performed at the University of Toledo showed promising results using PDCs to treat bladder cancer in-vivo using animal models. The results showed a specific targeting of cancerous tissue and destruction of cancer cells after light activation. Additionally, the study showed healthy tissue was unharmed and neglectable traces of PDCs were found in the blood. Hence, these results confirmed treatment efficacy and safety and lay the foundations for future clinical trials expected to be initiated next year.