top of page
  • Writer's pictureEscalate Life Sciences

Injection That Makes Colorectal Cancer ‘Glow’ During Surgery Enters Phase 3 Trial

26 September 2019, Hamburg: The idea is that doctors may be able to operate better if they can see ... [+]DPA/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Oncologists may soon have another weapon in their arsenal against colorectal cancer. A new injection that causes cancerous tissue to glow in fluorescence has just entered its Phase 3 trial. The injection aims to help surgeons better spot and remove colorectal cancer from the body.

French Pharmaceutical company SurgiMab announced that developments on their fluorescent tumor-specific antibody have started their Phase 3 clinical trial and have begun to be tested on colorectal cancer patients in Europe and the U.S. The antibody, known as SGM-101, is injected into patients intravenously a few days before an operation. Once inside the body, it reacts to a specific target on cancer cells’ surface known as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). CEA is a protein normally found in very low levels in adults’ blood, but can be increased in certain cancer patients, particularly those with colorectal cancer. 

“For colorectal cancer, we are the first [fluorescence guided surgery] in Phase 3,'' explained CEO and co-founder Françoise Cailler. “Its [the compound] based on an antibody that targets an antigen, and this antigen is over-expressed in over 80 percent of colorectal cancer. Because of this, it can help surgeons identify the tumors during the surgery.”

Once injected, the antibody causes the cancer cells to glow, regardless of where they may have spread throughout the body. However, this cannot be seen by the naked eye. Doctors must use a near-infrared camera system to see the tumors glow. The compound can even allow them to spot smaller metastatic nodules. The hope is that helping doctors see cancer tissue better, will then help them extract cancerous tissues during surgery with more accuracy.

So far the product has already passed initial safety and effectiveness studies, with the Phase 3 meant to build on these past results. According to Cailler, because the compound is only used for imaging purposes the dosages needed are extremely low. Therefore, even though it is injected into the body, SGM-101 is unlikely to cause adverse effects on patients. 

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S, and an estimated one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Treatment for colorectal cancer can differ greatly among cases, but surgical removal of cancerous treatment is often involved. SurgiMab believes that SGM-101 would help make these surgeries more effective.

If it goes to the market, SGM-101 would be the first available treatment to make colorectal cancer cells glow fluorescent. However, this is not the first time researchers have attempted to make a body part glow for the sake of medicine. For example, last year scientists created a compound that would make brain tumors glow in order for doctors to better identify and extract them. Similar innovations are being made for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Cailler estimates that Phase 3 may be concluded by the end of next year. If results continue to be favorable, SurgiMab will seek for the commercial launch of SGM-101 by 2021.

Written by: Dana Dovey, Contributor

Published on: Oct 30, 2019, 12:49pm

3 views0 comments
bottom of page