Australian Investigators Use Investigational Photodynamic Drug to Treat Cancer

Investigational Photodynamic Drug

Australian researchers from Hudson Institute of Medical Research (HIMR) and Swinburne University report that a revolutionary photodynamic drug and light beam technology could make surgery, pill and injections a thing of the past.

The research team is utilizing a new photodynamic cancer drug called IVX-PO2 to kill ovarian cancer cells in petri dishes reports Xinhuanet. Apparently when IVX-PO2 is exposed to light beams of a certain length it becomes toxic to cancer cells.

Commercial Sponsor

Invion, the commercial sponsor, has turned the pill into a gel so it can be applied to the skin. Invion is a clinical-stage drug development company based in Australia.  It develops treatments for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Its drug candidates include a Phase II clinical trial for INV102, a beta blocker to treat chronic inflammatory airway diseases, such as asthma and COPD; INV104, a leukotriene receptor antagonist that reduces inflammation, constriction of the airways, and build-up of mucus in the lungs.  The company has a research and development alliance agreement with Hudson Institute of Medical Research to collaborate on a range of R&D projects for the Photosoft technology investigational treatment included in this article.

Invion has an agreement with The Cho Group, which is based in Hong Kong. The Cho Group has funded and successfully commercialized a number of unique, advanced technologies. Invion and the Cho Group are conducting clinical trials of Photosoft via an R&D services agreement.   The provision of non-dilutive funding is part of a global development strategy for Photosoft. Hudson Institute of Medical Research participates in the Photosoft collaborative effort.

What is IVX-PO2

Invion is developing a PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT) with a novel photosensitizer called Photosoft™ to improve the treatment of skin cancers (topical application) and hard-to-treat solid cancers, including lung, prostate, ovarian and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops after exposure to asbestos. They have produced early results that have received some press, especially in Australia.

Hudson Institute of Medical Research 

An independent, not-for-profit medical research institute based near Melbourne, Australia. The institute employs approximately 450 researchers, postgraduate students and support staff. They seek to research and understand how to prevent and treat women’s and baby health, cancer, innate immunity and infectious diseases, as well as reproductive health.  They are presently led by Professor Elizabeth Hartland, distinguished researcher and international authority on microbiology and immunology. For the IVX-PO2, they are partnered with Swinburne University.

The Cho Group

The Cho Group owns the Photosoft technology or what they call “Next Generation Photodynamic Therapy” or PDT, a treatment which uses light to destroy cancer. This new therapy (NGPDT) and its Whole-Body Illumination Device (WID) are now approved for medical applications in China.  In Next Generation PDT patients are given an oral photosensitizing agent. The agent collects selectively in cancer tissue and, when exposed to light, becomes activated, releasing a highly energized, free radical form of oxygen known as a singlet oxygen.  Singlet oxygen destroys cancer cells from the inside out, while leaving normal tissue largely unaffected. Traditionally, PDT has been confined to treatment of superficial lesions or localized problems that can be either directly visualized or reached with endoscopic devices that are inserted into the body orifices.