Interview conducted by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)
Please can you give a brief introduction to how Nanospectra Biosciences are using nanoparticles to treat cancer?
AuroLase Therapy utilizes the unique “optical tunability” of a new class of materials developed at Rice University to focus the treatment on the tumor. These AuroShell® particles (also known as nanoshells) can be designed to absorb different wavelengths of light, including the near-infrared wavelengths that can penetrate human tissue.
The particles are delivered intravenously, accumulate in the tumor (not in adjacent normal tissue) and the entire area is then subsequently illuminated with a near-infrared laser. The particles will selectively absorb this near-infrared energy, transducing the light into heat, thermally destroying the tumor without damage to adjacent healthy tissue.
Could you please outline the pilot study into using nanoparticles to treat primary and metastatic cancerous tumors in the lung?
The IDE approved Trial is for non-small Cell Lung Cancer (Airway Obstruction) for up to 25 patients. The treatments will be done at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital in Philadelphia. The endpoint is efficacy.
Why are the nanoparticles absorbed by tumors and not by healthy tissues?
Unlike radiation, chemotherapeutic drugs, and immunotherapies, AuroLase Therapy does not rely upon biological differences between tumor cells and normal cells. Instead, it relies upon two well established factors which are common to both human and animal tumors – the disrupted vasculature associated with tumors which allow tumor-specific particle accumulation, and the sensitivity of all living cells to heat as the means of treatment.
Why were cancerous lung tumors chosen for the clinical trial as opposed to other types of tumor?
There will be over 1.4 million new cases of Lung Cancer diagnosed worldwide this year. It is the #1 cause of cancer deaths with over 1.3mill deaths per year
Are there plans to trial AutoLase Therapy on other types of tumor?
AuroLase Therapy is broadly applicable to most solid tumors. We are currently conducting pilot studies in patients with head & neck cancer along with lung cancer under a U.S. Investigation Device Exemption (IDE).
We are also recently concluded patient enrollment on a pilot trial in Mexico for patients with prostate cancer.
What impact do you think AutoLase Therapy will have on cancer treatment?
The potential benefits of AuroLase Therapy include:
the precise elimination of irregularly shaped or invasive tumors;
the treatment of otherwise non-resectable tumors
a minimally invasive therapy that avoids damage to surrounding healthy tissue and structures
Preclinical and human studies have not indicated any level of toxicity attributable to the therapy. Our therapeutic device may be used in combination with, and has been shown to increase the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and radiation.
Our Aurolase Therapy could have a dramatic positive impact on patients suffering from solid tumor cancer
What are Nanospectra Biosciences’ plans for the future?
We plan to file for our CE Mark in Q4 of 2012 and for FDA approval in Q2 of 2013. We will continue clinical trials in various solid tumor cancers potentially in conjunction with a strategic partner
Would you like to make any further comments?
We currently manufacture and conduct research activities using AuroShell particles (e.g., nanoshells), nanorods and other nanomaterials. We have an extensive collaborative network with researchers and have received federal funding to investigate the use of our materials in diverse commercial applications, including:
Enhancement of Radiation Therapy
Cancer imaging contrast agents for:
Optical Coherence Tomography
Photo acoustic Tomography
Enhanced Fluorescence Two-Photon Luminescence
Laser Eye Protection in Near-Infrared
Surface Enhanced Raman Sensing
Where can readers find more information?
8285 El Rio Street, Ste 150 Houston, TX 77054
18100 Von Karman Ave, Ste 850 Irvine, Ca 92612
About John Stroh, President and CEO, Director
Mr. Stroh has over 30 years of experience in senior management, operations, finance, investment banking and M&A, primarily in the medical technology & Life Science fields.
Before joining Nanospectra Mr. Stroh was Interim President and CEO of CryoFem Inc, a Cryoablation company focused in Women’s Health. Prior to that Mr. Stroh was President, CEO and Director of NeoMatrix LLC, a Breast Cancer risk assessment medical device company based in Irvine, California.
From 1984 until 2001, Mr. Stroh worked as a Managing Director and Vice President in the Investment Banking Industry. During this period, he was instrumental in raising over $1 billion for client companies and consulted on over 100 M&A and strategic partnering transactions.
He is on the Board of Directors for Orange Coast Memorial Hospital and The OCTANe Biomedical Leadership Council.
Mr. Stroh earned a bachelor degree in business from California State University, Long Beach, and also attended the Graduate School of Management at Long Beach State.