Vancouver-based biotech company Sustained Therapeutics has received regulatory clearance to continue studying a rare cancer treatment. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) member is set to enter Phase II/III clinical trial for their orphan drug for upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC).
What is UTUC?
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) is among the rarest types of all urological cancers. It occurs in the inner lining of the ureter or the inner lining of the kidney.
UTUC is difficult to diagnose as patients experience little to no symptoms in the early stages of the cancer. As the disease progresses, patients may experience symptoms such as blood in the urine, pain on one side of the back caused by a blockage in the kidney or ureter, weight loss, or urinary tract infections.
Currently, UTUC affects approximately 6,000 patients in North America.
Sustained Therapeutics’ approach
Instead of delivering chemotherapy via infusion, ST-02 by Sustained Therapeutics delivers treatment directly to the renal pelvis, where the cancer is located using a ureteric catheter.
This allows the product to be released slowly, and according to the company provides better benefits over current treatments for UTUC.
“To extend the exposure to the drug in the renal pelvis, our formulation is designed to coat the tissue and delivers chemotherapy for longer, right where it is needed,” the company explains.
This drug delivery platform patented by Sustained Therapeutics offers new hope for patients with acute and chronic pain, as it relies on non-opioids for fewer and lesser side effects.
“This is potentially a very important new development for patients suffering from UTUC,” said William Annett, Sustained Therapeutics’ Chief Executive Officer.
Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Vancouver Prostate Center (VPC) is conducting the investigator-sponsored trial (IST) that will include 25 patients in its study, and later on expand with an additional 50 patients, the company said in a press release.
“We are enabling rapid advancement of this therapy by running an Investigator Sponsored Trial (IST) and collaborating with talented colleagues like Dr. Peter Black at the VPC and others elsewhere,” said Dr. Martin Gleave, Sustained Therapeutics’ Chief Medical Officer and Distinguished Professor in the UBC Department of Urologic Sciences and Director of the VPC.