Alliance Agreement to advance laser-based cancer treatment

Tuesday, 27 March, 2018

Alliance Agreement to advance laser-based cancer treatment

The Melbourne-based Hudson Institute of Medical Research has signed a Research & Development Alliance Agreement with life sciences company Invion, which will see the two organisations work together to advance Invion’s cancer treatment technology, Photosoft.

Invion is developing Photosoft as a next-generation photodynamic therapy (PDT) — a treatment that 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, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, PDT causes acute inflammation, the expression of heat-shock proteins, and invasion and infiltration of a tumour by leukocytes.

Photosoft is targeted to address the limitations of first-generation PDT therapies through better solubility and tissue distribution, as well as stronger absorption that allows deeper penetration of tissues and better tumour specificity. It uses a laser light activation method based on short, pulsating ‘near infrared’ (NIR) wavelengths, which is hypothesised to allow more effective whole-of-body systemic treatment that can target circulating cancer cells as well as deeply seated tumours.

Under the agreement, the Hudson Institute will provide the research facilities and expertise required to undertake Invion-sponsored research projects. The collaboration will initially focus on the treatment of ovarian cancer, with a view to expanding into other forms of cancer.

In light of the expected increase in activities and the strong pipeline of R&D programming and activity, Dr Greg Collier has returned to a full-time role as managing director and CEO of Invion, effective immediately. At the same time, the Hudson Institute’s Dr Andrew Stephens — one of Australia’s foremost experts in the field of ovarian cancer research — has been appointed to the Invion advisory board.

“I am passionate about increasing the survival rates of ovarian cancer and finding better ways to treat and manage the disease,” said Dr Stephens.

“Early data from Photosoft is encouraging and I look forward to working with Invion and building a strong scientific and medical basis for its future development. With carefully developed studies and positive results, this technology could lead to a novel way of targeting a number of cancers, including ovarian cancer.”

“We are very pleased to have an expert of Dr Stephens’ calibre on our advisory board and excited about the collaboration with Hudson Institute for the global development of Photosoft,” said Dr Collier.

“We are excited about the development of Photosoft, and focused on enhancing the company’s scientific and medical expertise in the field of cancer to drive forward the asset’s research and clinical programs. We are looking to appoint several experts in the field of cancer research to key positions over the coming months.”

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