How a Patch Could Revolutionize Oral Cancer Treatment
Researchers working with the University of Michigan and Ohio State University have agreed to partner with Venture Therapeutics, Inc., an Ohio-based company, to establish a new company for the purpose of developing and marketing, worldwide, a new pharmaceutical treatment for precancerous oral lesions.
Thirty percent of precancerous oral lesions go on to become oral squamous cell carcinoma, a type of oral cancer that typically requires invasive surgical treatment. The new pharmaceutical treatment, which consists of a medicated patch that could be applied to the precancerous site at home, could deliver medication to the lesion without causing any of the adverse side effects associated with more invasive oral cancer treatments.
Treatment for cancers of the head and neck has evolved rapidly in recent years. Each year in America, 42,440 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. The new medicated patch could stop many cases of oral cancer before they develop, eliminating the need for head and mouth surgery. The patch will soon be moving into clinical trials.
A Less-Invasive Alternative
For those patients whose precancerous lesions progress into full-blown oral cancer, surgical treatment can be very invasive. Surgery for cancers of the mouth often requires significant removal of mouth and facial structures. Afterward, appearance is altered and function is impaired. Chemotherapy treatment for oral precancerous lesions causes the same side effects associated with other chemotherapy treatments.
The new oral patch would deliver localized treatment directly to the precancerous area. Precancerous oral lesions are easy for the patient to see and feel. They typically present as white or red sores or lesions on the tongue, gums or lining of the mouth. Often, they’re sore and painful. A patient using the new medicated patch could simply apply it to the precancerous area to treat the disease locally with minimal side effects. This patch definitely meets a need for patients diagnosed with precancerous oral lesions, researchers say.
The oral patch was developed by researchers working at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University (OSU) College of Dentistry, OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The researchers put the needs of patients diagnosed with precancerous lesions first.
“This type of collaboration, involving multiple university partners with strong industry support, is increasingly essential to expedite the discovery, development and delivery of more targeted cancer therapies,” said Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and chief executive officer of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. “There is no routine cancer, and today it takes the collective minds across disciplines, institutions and industry to move the field forward.”
The patch eliminates toxicity issues associated with chemotherapy and delivers chemotherapy medications directly to the precancerous tissue. The new pharmaceutical treatment has already moved past preclinical trials and is currently in clinical trials at OSU. In an uncommon business arrangement between a university and a pharmaceutical company, OSU and Venture Therapeutics are working together to develop the patch and will continue to work together to market and distribute the treatment. Venture Therapeutics is handling the development activities, while OSU performs the research, clinical trials and analysis of the treatment’s effects. It is hoped that the collaboration will help speed development of the drug and bring it to patients with precancerous oral lesions sooner.
Ohio State University, University of Michigan and Venture Therapeutics are working together to develop and market a medicated patch that could prevent most cases of oral cancer by delivering targeted treatment to precancerous lesions. In the meantime, increasingly advanced cancer treatments like those at Pasadena CyberKnife are giving oral cancer patients better and better odds.