Dendrimers improve anticancer efficacy in lung metastasis model
Starpharma Holdings Ltd (ASX:SPL;OTCQX: SPHRY) today announced the results of an animal study which shows that a dendrimer-based formulation of doxorubicin was substantially more efficacious in treating secondary tumours of breast cancer (metastases) in lungs than the drug alone.
The study involved a dendrimer formulation of the widely used cancer drug doxorubicin delivered via intra-tracheal administration, and was substantially more efficacious than doxorubicin alone in treating lung metastases of breast cancer.
The study was conducted as part of an ARC (Australian Research Council) funded collaboration with Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS). It utilised a rat model which uses lung-resident secondary tumours (or metastases) derived from breast cancer cells. Lung metastases are particularly difficult to treat with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, leading to a mortality rate of approximately 85% within 5 years, and existing treatments may often be considered palliative in nature. Commonly used treatments include doxorubicin, either alone or in combination with other agents.
In addition to the improvement in efficacy, the study also found that the dendrimer-doxorubicin formulation tended to remain in the lungs rather than passing into the body of the animal. This distribution pattern also creates the potential for reduced side effects, which are a significant problem with many cancer drugs, including doxorubicin.
Dr Jackie Fairley said: “The combination of Starpharma’s dendrimers, an existing cancer drug and direct lung administration appears to yield a substantially more efficacious agent for treating lung metastases than the drug alone. Given the clinical management of lung metastases is an area of significant medical need, and current drugs often provide poor results, this finding has the potential to create a valuable and important application for Starpharma’s proprietary dendrimer formulations.”
Starpharma seeks patent for dendrimer cancer drug
By Dylan Bushell-Embling | Posted in Pharma & biopharma on 05 March, 2013
Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has filed for a new patent covering a formulation of the cancer drug doxorubicin after achieving positive results from preclinical trials in treating breast cancer metastases.
The company said an animal trial of doxorubicin produced using its dendrimer nanotechnology platform technology achieved superior results in lung metastases of breast cancer than doxorubicin alone.
The study, conducted in a rat model, also showed that dendrimer-doxorubicin administered intratracheally tended to remain in the lungs instead of spreading through the body. This indicates a potential for reduced side effects from Starpharma’s formulation.
Lung metastases are difficult to treat with conventional chemotherapy drugs. The mortality rate for patients with these tumours is around 85% within five years. Doxorubicin is one of the most common treatments used.
Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley said the results are encouraging. “The combination of Starpharma’s dendrimers, an existing cancer drug and direct lung administration appears to yield a substantially more efficacious agent for treating lung metastases than the drug alone,” she said.
Fairley said Starpharma filed for the patent as a precursor to potential deals for the cancer drug with commercial partners.
Starpharma is also using its dendrimer platform to produce a variant of chemotherapy docetaxel, which is being tested in tumours including breast, prostate, lung and ovarian.
Starpharma (ASX:SPL) shares were trading 3.15% higher at $1.145 as of around 1:30 pm on Monday.