Early clinical trials of a new gel to treat skin cancer have returned promising results.
The gel, developed by Brisbane-based company Peplin, can be rubbed on to the skin to treat certain types of skin cancer.
Initial trials show just two applications of the PEP005 Topical gel on two consecutive days cleared up 71 per cent of basal cell carcinomas, or BCCs, the most common type of skin cancer.
The trials on 60 people throughout Australia built on an early study by Peplin in 2002 using the common garden weed, petty spurge.
“That was a very different study and that was just using the raw sap of petty spurge,” said Michael Aldridge, Peplin’s managing director and chief executive.
“This is the same company and we have now identified the molecule responsible for that activity and we have put that into a formal development program, formulated a gel and developed a manufacturing technology.
“We ran a phase one study in the US, two phase-two studies looking at sunspots, and this is our third phase-two study looking at basal cell carcinomas.”
Mr Aldridge said it was the first time the molecule from petty spurge had been used to treat BCCs, which are usually surgically removed.
“We’ve seen some very, very impressive results,” he said.
“This is the first time two days of therapy have shown to be effective in clearing skin cancers.”