Far North cancer cure set for human trials

Source: The Cairns Post

SCIENTISTS developing an anti-cancer drug made from a tropical plant only found on the Tableland expect to start human trials within months after reaching their $16 million target.

The remedy  called EBC-46  has the potential to destroy cancerous tumours and has been tested on a range of animals including horses, dogs, lizards and Tasmanian devils.

Yungaburra-based QBiotics CEO Dr Victoria Gordon said the company had reached the next major milestone, raising more than $16 million which will fund the first human trials, the development of a veterinary anti-cancer drug and a new oncology drug called EBC-23. “As EBC-46 is injected directly into the tumour we have initially focused on externally accessible tumours,” Dr Gordon (pictured) said.

“However, we believe that the drug may also successfully treat internally located tumours such as breast and prostate cancers.”

It is believed the treatment would initially be used on patients with head and neck tumours.

“There is still a very strong demand for a solution to cancer. Today, worldwide 20,000 people will die from cancer and in Australia alone there are over 115,000 new cases reported each year.

“There are so many people working hard to solve the problem and this is potentially one of these solutions.

“Our drug acts quickly, it’s simple to use and there are no significant side-effects.”

Admitting that it’s a “long road” until the pharmaceutical is available, Dr Gordon said the clinical phase was an important step towards a cancer cure.

“It’s very exciting. EBC-46 is a local treatment.

“We see a response in the tumour within 48 hours  the tumour starts to die and break up.

“In animals, we’ve seen resolutions (destruction) of the tumour within three weeks.”

Scientists have been developing the drug for the past six years and it has been successfully used on dogs, cats, horses, mice, rats, ferrets, guinea pigs, cockatoos, budgies, lizards and Tasmanian devils.

“It is something very new, so we are really breaking new ground as far as research and development goes but we are making excellent progress. EBC-46 is the first drug to be developed into clinical trials from the Queensland tropical rainforest.”

It is expected human trials will start in Brisbane before recruiting occurs in Far North Queensland.

QBiotics’ latest three-month fundraiser resulted in $6.5 million and was made possible by more than 270 individual investors.

“This is the seventh largest capital raising of 2013 for any ASX listed or private Australian biotech company,” corporate finance manager Reuben Buchanan said.

Money will also be used to evolve a wound healing treatment called WH-1 which has the potential to treat some flesh-eating diseases, pressure sores, diabetes-related ulcers and tropical ulcers.

EBC-46 and WH-1 are derived from the seed of a native rainforest plant called Fontainea.

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