New data from experimental cancer hopeful Invion (ASX:IVX) suggests its tumour-fighting laser might also trigger an immune response in the body.

The company’s research partner, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, said extra preliminary data from its ovarian cancer mouse trials supports the view that this was happening in addition to tumour tissue destruction.

Researchers at Hudson Institute looked at the T-cells in mice treated with Photosoft, a combination of photosensitive chemicals and light therapy to create a reactive chemical containing oxygen that can kill malignant cells.

T-cells and the immune system T-cells are a type of white blood cell that help regulate the body’s immune response to specific pathogens.

The new data showed that on day two of the study, mice treated with the Photosoft technology had more tumour-infiltrating T-cells than the control groups.

“Based on these early findings, it appears that tumour shrinkage using Photosoft technology is accompanied by a potentially beneficial change in the immune microenvironment in ovarian tumour tissue,” said Dr Andrew Stephens, head of Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Laboratory at Hudson Institute.

The preclinical studies used 28 mice with ovarian tumours. Positive preliminary results were released in November last year and demonstrated the treatment could shrink the size of ovarian cancer model tumours in mice by over 50 per cent in three weeks.

Preclinical results using animal and lab subjects need to be treated with caution as most treatments do not successfully make it into human trials.

“That Photosoft technology may be able to attack the cancer in two ways – directly and by activating the body’s immunity – is significant because most common cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, suppress the body’s natural ability to fight pathogens,” Invion CEO Craig Newton said.

Invion wants to start human trials using the treatment for skin cancer later in 2020.


In other ASX health news:

Breast cancer diagnostic provider Volpara Health Technologies (ASX: VHT) has partnered with US company Ambry Genetics to integrate its genetic testing product into its own platform.

Bionomics (ASX:BNO) has finished recruitment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer for its experimental phase two clinical trial of its drug candidate, BNC105. Final results from the trial are projected for early 2023. The trial is being conducted at 16 clinical oncology sites around Australia.

In spite of jumping on the COVID-19 bandwagon early on, Eagle Health Holdings (ASX:EHH) has had to cancel its dividend payable at the end of this month. While the board “remains confident” of its financials it still feels it should preserve cash. Two weeks ago the company was suspended from trading after asking for extra time to complete its annual report.