An Icelandic-Norwegian team is working to develop new ways of stopping advanced or previously untreatable cancers in the head and neck. The procedure has been carried out on eleven patients so far, all of whom showed a big improvement.
The project is run by the Norwegian company PCI Biotech, in co-operation with the University of Iceland and the Icelandic chemistry company ArcticMass. The trials have been carried out on patients at University College Hospital in London. The cancer patient is given a so-called light-directing drug along with cancer medication.
“The light-directing drug is given shortly before the cancer medicine and then a light is shone onto the tumour,” says Mar Masson, an Icelandic professor involved in the project. The light directing drug increases the efficacy of the cancer drugs inside the tumour and reduces the drugs’ unwanted impact on the rest of the body.
“This treatment is especially suited to surface tumours. A good example is tongue tumours, which are difficult to treat surgically and often lead to the removal of the tongue; but with this procedure it is possible to administer cancer medication, activate it with light in the tumour and the tumour can disappear without harming the patient,” Masson explained to RUV.
11 long-term cancer patients took part in initial trials in the UK. All tumours that were treated disappeared and no major side effects were reported.
“If the tests planned for this year go well, this could be a recognised treatment on the market in just a few years,” the professor adds.