LondonPharma's lead development programme, LON002, is repurposed, sublingual artemether, in Phase Ib/IIa clinical trials for the treatment of cancer.

LondonPharma has completed a Phase Ib clinical trial in Africa in female cancer patients using self-administered, sublingual artemether, who have late stage, solid tumours.

This Phase Ib trial was based on the well documented non-clinical effect of artemisinins in anti-cancer models together with the clinically confirmed improvement in human pharmacokinetics and involves women with late stage breast or cervical cancer.

As a result of the excellent indications of efficacy resulting from this clinical trial, LondonPharma has extended the study to multicentre all-comers clinical trials in the UK. The study is being led by Kings College London at their experimental cancer medicine facility at the Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital campus.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital in conjunction with the Surrey Clinical Research Centre of the University of Surrey will also participate in the study. The study will be expanded to other sites within the experimental cancer medicine network in the UK to ensure rapid patient enrolment.

The UK clinical trials are involving up to 80 patients initially, both male and female, with a broad range of tumour-based cancers. The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of sublingual artemether as monotherapy and in combination with standard (relevant to tumour type) therapeutic treatment.

Data from this clinical trial will indicate whether LON002 will be positioned as chronic monotherapy and/or, as part of a combination treatment regime.

Further preclinical work undertaken in Surrey is ongoing which it is hoped will continue to expand the programme across other cancer indications and will lead to further clinical trials. 

LON002 could be used either as part of a second-line combination cancer therapy (potentially graduating to first-line use) or, as experience develops, as a chronic, long term self-administered treatment.

Oral administration (tablet or liquid form) of artemether is subject to breakdown in the gastrointestinal track where up to 70% is rejected or excreted. LondonPharma has developed a novel sublingual formulation of artemether which improves the absorption across the oral mucosa and avoids the effect of the gastrointestinal enzymes and transport processes, maximising the effectiveness of the treatment. After a single sublingual dose, absorption is shown to be rapid and the sublingual artemether 3.5 fold greater than an oral tablet.

Updated: 13/11/14

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There were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2012, of these, 7.4 million cases were men and 6.7 million were women. The number is expected to rise to 24 million by 2035.

Source: World Cancer Research Fund International

Cancer Research UK reports that in 2012, an estimated 14.1 million new cases of cancer occurred worldwide, more than half of which occurred in less developed regions. The four most common cancers occurring worldwide are lung, breast, bowel and prostate which account for around four in ten of all cancers diagnosed worldwide. In 2012 an estimated 8.2 million people worldwide died from cancer, of which six in ten were from less developed countries.

Source: Cancer Research UK