Propanc Biopharma's flagship cancer treatment is based on work undertaken 100 years ago by John Beard, a professor of embryology at Edinburgh University
Professor Beard proposed that pancreatic enzymes represent the body's primary defense against cancer and are useful as a cancer treatment
Propanc's lead drug candidate PRP is a mix of proenzymes that targets solid cancerous tumors
Propanc is on the cusp of beginning its first trial for PRP in humans
What is Propanc?
The company’s cancer treatment is based on work undertaken by John Beard, a professor of embryology at Edinburgh University nearly 100 years ago, that uses fresh pancreatic enzyme extracts.
Professor Beard proposed that the pancreatic enzymes represent the body’s primary defense against cancer and are useful as a cancer treatment.
In the last 10 years, Propanc has uncovered evidence to suggest that pancreatic enzymes basically assist with cell-to-cell contact and communication and can be used to halt the spread of cancer.
The company’s lead product PRP (which is not an acronym) is a formula consisting of two proenzymes mixed in a ratio that targets solid tumors.
After extensive research in the lab and limited human testing, Propanc has produced evidence that PRP reduces cancer cell growth and may suppress the progression of cancer when it turns metastatic. It’s also been found to have no serious side effects.
“What our therapy does it induces what’s called cell differentiation on cancer stem cells. What this is is a fancy term for forcing these malignant cells to express proteins that they normally wouldn’t which pushes them back towards becoming a normal cell, rendering them benign,” explains CEO James Nathanielsz. “It’s not directly killing the cancer cell per say but as a result of exposure to our drug product, it’s rendering them inactive and they die naturally.”
It is thought that PRP can be used for the early-stage management of solid tumors as well as for long-term therapy following other standard cancer treatments.
How is it doing?
Propanc is right on the cusp of commencing its first trial for PRP in humans. It’s completed pre-clinical trials and proved PRP’s usefulness in animal studies.
Its first trial is likely to take place in its home town of Melbourne, Australia. Why? Cancer researchers there have expressed an interest in the study and the Australian government provides hefty tax incentives for medical research.
In its biggest achievement to date, under a compassionate use program, PRP was delivered to more than 40 patients suffering from advanced cancer in the UK and Australia who had failed conventional treatment. Nineteen of these very late-stage cancer patients either doubled or quadrupled their life expectancy after taking the therapy. Their average survival rate improved to nine months compared to a prognosis of about 5.6 months.
Propanc has also won an orphan drug designation for PRP from the US Food and Drug Administration for its treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Listed on the OTCQB since 2011 and domiciled in Delaware, the Australian company, which has a market-cap of nearly $4 million, now raises most of its money via hedge funds and other institutional investors.
The company is aiming to arrange a $5 million financing to complete its manufacturing and submit its first clinical trial application.
Thoughts from the top
Propanc has spent considerable time to get to the stage where it is preparing for its first clinical trial and CEO James Nathanielsz is tremendously excited about the next advance.
"We have now officially entered the clinical development stage for our lead product, PRP, which represents an exciting new therapeutic approach for the treatment and prevention of metastatic cancer," says Nathanielsz.
“What we do is we push cancer cells back towards becoming benign and then they die off completely. To the best of our knowledge there’s no one really out there who is really applying the same approach that we’re doing. We’re not directly killing the cancer stem cells, but forcing them to express proteins they normally wouldn’t and they die of naturally,” he says.
Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]