For Some Skin Cancer Patients, a New Approach to Treatment May Prove Shocking

San Diego based OncoSec Medical Inc. announces positive preliminary results from ongoing NeoPulse clinical trial for certain skin cancers.

In their quest to treat certain forms of skin cancer, some doctors prefer to use a highly effective drug called bleomycin. But they have to walk a tightrope, because this drug is highly toxic. Traditionally, bleomycin must be administered intravenously; but because this method targets cancer cells inefficiently, high doses of the drug must be used, and significant side effects are common. As a result, there is a huge unmet need for safer alternative approaches to treating skin cancers.

One new, less invasive approach to the use of bleomycin is now being studied by a company called OncoSec Medical Inc., based in San Diego. The company's proprietary technology, known as NeoPulse, hinges on two simple facts: First, when a small electric current is administered in the vicinity of a tumor, tiny holes or pores temporarily open on the surface of the tumor's cancer cells. Second, during the interval when those pores are open, a drug-such as bleomycin-can be absorbed by the cancer cells at effective doses much lower than normal. Administering the drug this way can help treat the cancer while minimizing the safety hazards and possibly sparing healthy, normal, surrounding tissue.

At a recent scientific meeting in Barcelona (the 6th World Meeting of Interdisciplinary Melanoma/Skin Care Centres & 8th EADO Congress), OncoSec announced preliminary results from an ongoing clinical trial, conducted at 15 clinical centers across Western Europe, testing their approach in skin cancer patients. Six months into the study, 69 of a total of 88 patients were evaluated. According to the preliminary data obtained by the researchers involved in the study, after six months of treatment, there was a complete response of greater than 90 percent in patients with basal cell carcinoma and a complete response of 70 percent in patients with squamous cell carcinoma. These patients were found to be tolerating the treatment well, with no major side effects.

Based on the results received from the study so far, OncoSec's technology appears to provide a potentially significant-and literally shocking-approach to addressing a variety of skin cancers.