Theralase anti-cancer photodynamic therapy nears human trials

May 27, 2014
Anti-cancer research on Photo Dynamic Compound (PDC) technology from Theralase Technologies was peer reviewed and invited to be published in Coordination Chemistry Reviews as the company prepares for human clinical trials.

The latest research on Photo Dynamic Compound (PDC) technology from Theralase Technologies (TLT.V; Toronto, ON, Canada), proven effective in the destruction of bacteria and cancer, was peer reviewed and invited to be published in Coordination Chemistry Reviews as the company prepares for human clinical trials.

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The new research presents how Theralase's new class of PDCs incorporates systems that act as dual Type I/II PDCs (able to work in oxygenated and non-oxygenated tissue), opening up the possibility of treating hypoxic (low oxygen) tumors with Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT). These PDCs are in-vitro centromere binders (localizing to the nucleus of a cell) and photocleavers (ability to damage nucleus), thus destroying cells when exposed to light. They also exhibit no nucleic damage in the absence of light, supporting their high safety and tolerability.

This PDT effect translates effectively to animals and has proven superior to the FDA approved PDC Photofrin(R), in this research. The ability to activate the Theralase PDCs from visible to near-infrared (NIR) light marks an unprecedented versatility that can be exploited to match treatment depth to tumor target depth, giving rise to PDCs for multi-wavelength activated PDT.

Briefly, light absorption by the PDC produces a reactive excited state that can participate in electron (Type I) or energy (Type II) transfer to ground state molecular oxygen forming either superoxide radical anions or cytotoxic singlet oxygen, respectively. The production of a cytotoxic (cell killing) burst of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), notably singlet oxygen has proven effective in eliminating tumors and/or tumor vasculature. The primary advantage of light-based approaches in treating diseases, such as cancer, is that guided light delivery confines drug activity to malignant sites; thereby, reducing collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Consequently, due to the high photostability of the Theralase PDC, very low drug doses can be used (nanograms) with activation at higher light doses, simultaneously eliminating the side effects caused by conventional systemic chemotherapeutics, such as cisplatin.

Arkady Mandel, Chief Scientific Officer of Theralase, said, "A number of successful efforts have been made by Theralase's research team to satisfy the clinical requirements and to improve the pharmaceutical and therapeutic properties of the original PDCs. The results of our collaborative research with Dr. Lothar Lilge's scientific team at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health (UHN) and Dr. Sherri McFarland's chemistry team at Acadia University (Acadia) reveal an unprecedented versatility and efficacy of the Theralase's PDCs. The research data published in the high impact journal Coordination Chemistry Reviews may lead to development of the first-line of patient specific PDT. I am delighted that Theralase has established a very strong partnership with UHN and Acadia to progress this pivotal technology to the next milestone, the completion of an orthotopic animal model for bladder cancer. Together with clinical guidance by Dr. Michael Jewett, a Professor of Surgery (Urology) at the University of Toronto and one of the lead clinician investigators and uro-oncologists at UHN, our research provides excellent preclinical support to Theralase to finalize the regulatory submissions and prepare us for a Phase 1/2a human clinical trial to evaluate the technology in patients inflicted with bladder cancer."

Sherri McFarland PhD, Professor of Chemistry at Acadia University, said, "I am delighted to work with a strong partner such as Theralase in the development of these PDCs that I originally invented and optimized with the support of my partners. These PDCs have proven to be very potent compounds in the destruction of cancer cells in very small doses and I am excited to lead the development of the PDCs and be part of the team completing the preclinical work in 2014 to support human clinical studies in early 2015."

SOURCE: Theralase via Yahoo Finance;

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