(Source: Theralase Technologies.)
  • Theralase Technologies (TSXV:TLT) announced that its Ruvidar compound was able to create a new compound able to significantly kill more cancer cells
  • The new compound, nicknamed RuBCG, was able to significantly increase the efficacy of its cancer cell kill versus BCG or Ruvidar alone
  • It is believed to work by invading bladder cancer cells and triggering an immune response, which can allow the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy the bladder cancer cells
  • Theralase stock last traded at C$0.19 per share

Theralase Technologies (TSXV:TLT) announced that its Ruvidar compound was able to create a new compound able to significantly kill more cancer cells.

In preclinical cell-based experiments, the new compound, nicknamed RuBCG, when combined with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), was able to significantly increase the efficacy of its cancer cell kill versus BCG or Ruvidar alone.

The clinical stage pharmaceutical company believes this mechanism of action is possible through a reversal of the cell wall charge of the BCG bacteria and, in return a significant enhancement of bladder cancer cell kill by RuBCG.

BCG is a reduced form of Mycobacterium bovis, a bacterium with established efficacy in the treatment of urinary bladder cancer. It has been used clinically for decades, as the standard of care in the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), the 10th most common cancer in the world.

It is believed to work by invading bladder cancer cells and triggering an immune response, which can allow the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy the bladder cancer cells. However, it is effective only in 75 per cent of treated patients and lacks a duration of response as half of these patients recur within a year of treatment.

One possible explanation given by the Theralase team as to why BCG is effective for some patients but not others, and why its response is not always long-lasting, may be because of its strong negative electrical charge. Bladder cancer cells also have a strong negative charge, leading to a repulsion between the BCG bacterium and the cancer cells. This repulsion makes it difficult for BCG to adhere to and be absorbed by the cancer cells, thereby hindering its effectiveness. Consequently, BCG cannot firmly bind to the target cancer cells, rendering it ineffective in destroying them. Clinically, this charge repulsion is evident as patients often need multiple high-dose BCG treatments to achieve a significant anti-cancer effect.

A new approach to enhance BCG effectiveness could involve changing the charge of BCG from negative to positive. This would allow better adhesion to and penetration of the negatively charged cancer cells.

“Treatment of NMIBC with BCG vaccine presents challenges, as proper uptake of the vaccine in bladder cancer cells requires the administration of high and multiple doses. The results presented today represent Theralase’s commitment to unlocking the inherent value of the patented Ruvidar compound for the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of patients, who are diagnosed with NMIBC, every year,” Theralase’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Arkady Mandel, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc. explained in a news release. “Patients diagnosed with NMIBC face challenges in the treatment of their disease that this new research hopes to solve. In a human bladder cancer in-vitro model, Theralase has been able to demonstrate a significant improvement in the efficacy of BCG, through the addition of Ruvidar to form RuBCG. This new formulation eliminates the surface repelling charge of BCG cells and increases the immunogenic and cytotoxic effect on cancer cells (P=0.02 and <0.001, respectfully). The overall data indicates that RuBCG is capable of inducing both an immunogenic and synergistic destruction of bladder cancer cells, which is not attainable using BCG alone.”

He added, “Peer-reviewed research has demonstrated that bacteria-based immunotherapy; including, naive bacteria, bacterial components and bacterial derivatives, are able to modulate immune responses via various cellular and molecular pathways; however, these promising methods of anticancer therapy are far from being optimized. The anti-cancer use of BCG can be compared to an uncut and unpolished gem, a ‘rough diamond’ so to speak; however, in RuBCG, this ‘rough diamond’ is finished displaying brilliant sparkle and fire resulting in targeted, synergistic killing of cancer cells and providing an opportunity to reverse the limitations of BCG alone. We expect that the new Theralase proprietary formulations will enable the optimization of various bacterial-mediated tumor immunotherapies to enhance their value in numerous clinical applications.”

Theralase is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing light and/or radiation-activated compounds, associated drug formulations and the light systems that activate them to destroy various cancers, bacteria and viruses.

Theralase stock (TSXV:TLT) last traded at C$0.19 per share.

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(Top photo: Theralase Technologies)


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