At the moment, the code name is only LUZ11. But soon, the Portuguese pharmaceutical Luzitin expects that it will be the first national drug in oncology to hit the market receives a name by the World Health Organization. For now, the drug met the necessary permits and has already started to its first stage of testing in patients with head and neck cancer, a partnership between the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) of the CUF Porto and Porto.
The LUZ11, PUBLIC explained to the doctor and Director-General of Luzitin, Luís Almeida, began last week clinical trials in humans, a phase which is called I / IIa. In this step, in general, drugs are tested on a sample of healthy volunteers. However, in cases of drugs like this at face high benefit to risk, the tests are already being made for patients with advanced state of cancer of the head and neck who were not responding to any treatment so far known. The medicament intended for various types of solid tumors, but for the purposes of clinical trials of these cancers were selected body areas.
Altogether, the clinical trial has 20 patients in the terminal stages of the disease. “The compound is administered in blood, or through intravenous and distributes the body of the patient. The drug itself has no action. But if activated by light of a particular wavelength, in this case laser light, is activated and destroys cancer cells at the site where the light struck “said Louis Almeida, which describes the drug as having a” high potential cure. “
The drug acts in combination with photodynamic therapy, which has been shown to activate the photochromic compounds to treat tumors, also combining with oxygen to tissues and are themselves can destroy the cells of the tumor and its blood vessels for that does not receive the nutrients that feed.
The head of the Portuguese pharmaceutical said that at the stage of testing in animals, in which the doses are much higher, the LUZ11 “did not cause significant side effects.” Furthermore, “as selectively destroy the tumor in the area where the light strikes, spares healthy tissue, which is very difficult with other treatments,” added the director also of the clinical trial, which is the principal investigator oncologic surgeon Lúcio Lara Santos, the IPO CUF Porto and Porto.
Against deadlines, Luís Almeida is prudent, but believes that within four to five years it will be possible to complete all the drug trials and processes necessary and reach the market. The start of trial start after a phase of research that has been ongoing for about three and a half years – when the Luzitin, which are shareholders of the pharmaceutical Bluepharma and Portugal Ventures, acquired certain patents from the University of Coimbra, that was part of the LUZ11. “This is proof that the university brings good science and that can turn it into good products,” reinforced Sérgio Simões, chairman of the board of directors of Luzitin, adding that he believed this “smart drug” will have the advantage of being easy to use, “so you have a good relationship in terms of cost-effectiveness.”
In Portugal arise every year about 3,000 new cases of cancer of the head and neck and die on average three people per day with this disease, whose mortality is about 60%. Early detection of these tumors, affecting areas such as the oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx and hypopharynx, is fundamental to the possibility of healing, and the number of new cases has been increasing.
Lumps in the neck, persistent sore throat, pain or difficulty swallowing, hoarseness permanent, bleeding from the mouth or throat, skin changes the face or neck, non-healing wounds and ear pain without apparent justification are some of the warning signs . These tumors affect mainly people over 40 years, male sex, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Source: Newspaper “Public” and author on June 4, 2014