Topical Anticancer Treatment for Actinic Keratosis
Digital Health News

Derm-Biome Pharmaceuticals’ topical therapy shows positive results in preclinical skin cancer trial: drug prevents the development of precancerous skin conditions and treats existing skin cancers with no observable side effects

The rates of precancerous skin conditions and skin cancers are soaring in many parts of the world. Actinic keratosis (AK) is the most common form of precancer, with over 40 million Americans a year developing this condition. Treating AKs before the cells become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body is crucial. For those patients with multiple AKs, common treatment options are chemotherapy creams and photodynamic therapy. Although effective, these treatments come with significant side effects, such as redness, blistering, and peeling, with recovery times that can be lengthy and uncomfortable. The global actinic keratosis treatment market size is projected to reach as high as $10 billion USD by 2031, fuelled by increasing cases of AK and rising healthcare spending.

Derm-Biome Pharmaceuticals is a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company that has developed a topical anticancer treatment for patients with or at high risk of developing multiple AKs. In a recent UV-induced skin cancer trial, mice were exposed to UVB radiation over a period of 25 weeks. The prolonged exposure mimics chronic sun exposure over time and replicates the gradual progression from precancerous skin conditions to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Topical application of Derm-Biome’s compound prior to UVB exposure significantly reduced the number and size of precancer lesions, while treatment blocked the progression of squamous cell carcinoma tumors.

Frédéric Couture, Researcher and Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences at TransBIOtech: “My research group conducted this study using Derm-Biome’s compound. The compound exhibited a significant protective effect without toxicity or side effects. Moreover, existing tumor progression was blocked with drug treatment. We actually noticed an improvement to the look of skin treated with the compound.”

Dr. Poul Sorensen, University of British Columbia Professor and Distinguished Scientist at BC Cancer Research Centre, and Derm-Biome CSO: “The results of these studies are very promising. We tested our compound using a very aggressive UV-induced skin cancer model. We observed highly significant decreases in the number of tumors in treated mice and strong preventative effects when mice were pretreated with the compound. These findings suggest that our compound has great potential to be a highly effective and well-tolerated agent for both the treatment and prevention of squamous cell carcinoma.”

Derm-Biome CEO Gordon Eberwein: “Currently available topical treatments cause debilitating side effects that make them unattractive to patients. There is a real need for safer and more targeted topical therapies.”

Derm-Biome expects to start topical formulation development this summer, with IND-enabling studies slated to begin in Q4.

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