More than half of current cancer patients have radiation therapy during the course of their treatment and it is a mainstay of treatment in head and neck, breast, lung, oesophageal, prostate, cervical, brain and pancreatic cancer. However tumours recur in around half of patients treated with the intent to cure. In addition, radiotherapy can cause side effects that may restrict the dose that patients are able to tolerate, since it non-selectively kills both healthy tissue and tumour cells.
We are initially developing MTL-005 as an adjuvant for first-line radiotherapy in head and neck cancer but it is expected that it will also be effective in other solid tumours where radiotherapy is used. There are pre-clinical data to support the use of MTL-005 in breast cancer, while studies with related metalloporphyrins suggest potential efficacy in lung, oesophageal, prostate, pancreatic, bladder, brain and cervical cancer.