OTL-78 – On Target Laboratories Prostate Cancer Drug Development

Neal Howard: Welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard here on Health Professional
Radio, glad that you could join us. We’re going to have a conversation this
morning with Dr. Michael Koch, he’s the Chair of Department of Neurology at Indiana University
Medical Center and he’s joining us on the program today to talk about the development
of On Target Laboratories’ brand new drug for treating prostate cancer. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Koch. Dr. Michael Koch: Thank you. Neal: Well why don’t you give our listeners
just a little bit of background about yourself and we’ll jump right into this discussion
of this new drug called OTL-78, okay? Dr Koch: Sure. so I’m the head of the Urology Department
at Indiana University School of Medicine. I’ve been here in this capacity for 20 years
and the focus of my clinical work is prostate cancer and have been approaching it from a
number of different attacks. This drug is quite unique in terms of anything
we’ve ever had, the potential to use before because it’s going to allow us to approach
the worst prostate cancer patients and potentially offer curative therapy that we’ve not been
able to offer before. Neal: Is that the reason that there is this
critical need in healthcare for enhanced prostate cancer treatment methods such as the one we’re
discussing this morning? Dr Koch: Yes. So one of the issues with prostate cancer
is we’ve done a sort of about-face, yet 15 years ago we used to try primarily to cure
people with low risk prostate cancer, people that did not have a high risk of spread. As it turns out, that disease grow so slowly
that it doesn’t need to be cured but we need to be able to cure is the people who have
either not quite had the cancer spread or just begun to spread outside the prostate
and they have a high risk of death from prostate cancer if they’re not cured. And our current techniques are somewhat inadequate
in terms of assessing where the disease is and where it is not which limits our ability
to address all the disease that the patient has. Neal: So if you’re having difficulty determining
where the disease is and where the disease isn’t, doesn’t that leave the potential for
leaving cancerous cells after treatment for the patient to have to live with and come
back for surgery or other treatment later on? Dr Koch: Exactly, that is exactly the issue. We really want to particularly, if you’re
talking about surgery you want to eliminate all the disease
first time in and not need any other treatment whether it be chemotherapy radiation or hormonal
therapy in the case of prostate cancer. Neal: So how many people are we talking about
that are suffering from the type of cancer that this new drug is effective for or is
going to be used for? Dr Koch: Well the numbers vary somewhat but
there’s around 160,000 to 200,000 men that are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the
United States. There are about 30,000 men every year that
die from prostate cancer so of the 160 or so they’re diagnosed every year, it’s probably
at least a third of them that have this higher risk prostate cancer that really really really
require a need for aggressive treatment in an attempt to cure it, so it’s a lot of people. Neal: Exactly how does this new drug OTL-78
work? Dr Koch: Let me back-up one. So one of the issues with prostate cancer,
I’m primarily a prostate cancer surgeon, okay. So when I’m operating on somebody the edge
of the prostate is somewhat subtle tactically and cancer doesn’t always look that different
than normal tissue particularly bladder tissue, tissue around the rectum, tissue just outside
the prostate – it’s not as clear as one might think. The second problem of prostate cancer is when
it spreads to lymph nodes around the prostate, it does not do that in a totally predictable
pattern. There are some diseases where it spreads much
more predictably but when you’re dealing with prostate cancer for example, if you’re talking
about spreading to lymph nodes – you want to know exactly which lymph nodes it has spread
to so you can get those lymph nodes. And otherwise, you’re just kind of guessing
but you don’t know for sure. Similarly, if it’s broken through the outer
wall the prostate into the tissue beyond the prostate, you need to be able to try to see
that. So what’s unique about this drug is that it
binds to any prostate cancer areas. And secondly it fluorescents when stimulated
by the right type of light so if you were removing the prostate, you want to
assess the tissues around the prostate, you would take the prostate out and you would
apply the light to see if anything any fluorescent tissue remains and if it does and you can
resect that. Similarly, you can put the stimulating light
on the lymph nodes and see if any of them glow fluorescently and then you can remove
that set of lymph nodes. Neal: Is this damaging to any healthy tissue
at all in any type of way? I mean how is it
Illuminating? Is it not radiation, it’s just simple fluorescence? Dr Koch: Yeah, similar to a black light or
something like that. I mean it’s it’s fluorescence and it’s similar
to fireflies that you see in the summer. They fluoresce and not radioactive, it’s not
damaging. It gives us the potential to be much less
damaging surgically so we know where to remove the tissue in the prostate. Neal: Once everything is lit up, all of the
tissue can be removed and the survival rate of the patient greatly increased. Dr Koch: For example, the nerves that give
a man his sexual function are immediately outside the prostate so were you able to give
this drug and then apply the fluorescence to the prostate and that area lit up and you
would know that those nerves can be removed with the
prostate to effectively remove all the tumor. On the other hand, if they didn’t then you
would know that you could spare all that tissue so it’s a way to inspect tissue to see how
much much tissue it really needs to be removed. Neal: Is prostate cancer the only condition
that this drug is going to be effective with or can it be used universally to track these
or to light up cancer cells? Dr Koch: This particular drug is prostate
specific. They have other drugs that are unique for
other types of cancer but is the goal may be to create something, a one-stop shop for
cancer that illuminates all these cells and makes it easier in all different types of
cancers not just Prostate? Dr Koch: Well I think you’d have to ask On
Target Laboratories that. Neal: Where can we go online and get some
more information about On Target’s new drug and about your practice as well? Dr Koch: Indiana University School of Medicine
website. Neal: And I’m assuming that On Target Laboratories
would have a website of their own. Dr Koch: Yes. Neal: I do believe that website would be ontargetlaboratories.com
and you say you’re located on the Indiana University’s School of Medicine website. Dr Koch: Yes. Neal: Alright. Well seeing as how surgeons do have a kind
of a difficult time as you say differentiating between the healthy tissue and the cancerous
tissue, I’m sure that this brand new drug once it is available. Dr Koch: Yes, it’s very exciting. I think it’s going to give us potential to
increase our cure rate in the patients that need the cure the most. Neal: Well I thank you for dropping in this
morning and giving us this information. I’m hoping that we can talk again when the
drug becomes available. Dr Koch: Alright, thank you Mr. Howard. Neal: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional
Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are
available at HP RFM and healthprofessionalradio.com.au. You can also subscribe to this podcast on
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