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Theralase Technologies Inc. Upends Cancer Research with Immune System Response

Therelase Technologies Inc. (TSX.V:TLT) has set the cancer research world abuzz with the discovery that its photodynamic compound treatment for bladder cancer has resulted in a defacto immunization against future recurrence of the deadly disease in mice. Photodynamic compounds are chemicals which, when injected into a tumour and exposed to specific bandwidths of light destroy cancerous cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

Watch the Interview with Roger White, CEO of Theralase at the Canadian Investment Conference:

While there are instances of this treatment working with 100% efficacy in humans, there has been no concerted clinical effort resulting in large scale success in humans, and that is exactly what Theralase CEO Roger White is setting out to do.

In clinical tests earlier this year, the Theralase team injected lab mice with 350,000 bladder cancer cells, and the mice all developed robust tumours. They then injected the mice with the company’s photodynamic compounds and exposed them to a light source. The mice, without exception, all had zero signs of cancer within 3 months. Then, they re-injected the same mice with another dose of 350,000 cancer cells. Sixty percent of the mice developed no tumours, while the remaining 40 percent developed mild tumours. But then, to the surprise and delight of the research team, the mice who did develop tumours mustered an immune system response that attacked and killed all the cancer cells. The team had stumbled upon what appears to be a natural immune response to subsequent cancer recurrence as a result of the photodynamic treatment.

The profundity of this development cannot be overstated, and the shares in the company have since traded anywhere from 2 to 10 million shares per day. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Lang and O’Leary Exchange Show featured the company, and you can view that video here.

Here is the full transcript of the interview with Roger on Midas Letter Live:

James West:           Roger I wanted to talk to you today in regard to the press release you put out dated May 29th, 2014 wherein Therlase discovers an anti-cancer memory response. Why don’t you give me an overview of what exactly does that mean?

Roger White:           Well it’s fascinating research actually James. The work that we did last year – we took mice, and did a sub-cutaneous model, or sub-q model. We injected 350,000 cancer cells, we allowed them to colonize and grow and form into a tumour, and once they got half a centimeter in size – 5 millimeters – we did an inter-tumour injection, so we injected our photodynamic compound into it, allowed it to localize, and then we hit it with a light source, and we destroyed the cancer. So it was great news – the mice were very happy – they lived long lives. We followed them for 18 -24 months, which is the normal life-span of a mouse, and they had no cancer, no-recurrence, and no scar tissue. So we destroyed just the cancer, didn’t affect the healthy tissue, didn’t affect the immune system, and no recurrence. So that’s great.

What we decided to do to see how strong the effect was with our photodynamic therapy, we took some of those mice and 13-23 days after we treated them, we re-injected them with 350,000 cancer cells. What we found is that in 60% of them, there was no tumour regrowth at all. In 40%, there was a small tumour regrowth, but then it quickly regressed. What did that tell us? What it told us is that we trained and taught the immune system how to recognize those cancer cells, and then destroy them without any further intervention on our side. So we’ve proven in very limited mouse model, a short term memory response. So we wanted to take it one step further, and we took those same mice, we waited 10 months, then we injected them with 350,000 cancer cells again.

James West:           Poor mice!

Roger White:          Poor little guys!

James West:           They’re really having to work for their pellets!

Roger White:           Yeah exactly, exactly! But on those older mice – ten months old – zero percent tumour regrowth. So now you’ve shown a long term memory response. So what this has shown, is that the photodynamic therapy that we have can not only destroy the primary tumour, but it can strengthen the immune system and train the immune system now to recognize any rogue cancer cells that got left behind, and destroy them all on its own without any further intervention.

James West:           So this is sounding to me like you’re starting to create an immunization in the body to cancer…

Roger White:           That’s what it suggests.

James West:           Okay now I’ve been following the news lately, and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) is focusing on a path of cancer therapy that is essentially targeting immunological responses in the body as a future way to mitigate and ultimately defeat cancer. So Novartis is a multi-billion dollar company…is this something similar to what they’re doing, or is this something completely different?

Roger White:           There are some similarities. There are some differences. I believe in the Novartis technology, they’re extracting blood, stripping away the white blood cells, and they’re treating or modifying the DNA or gene makeup of the blood cells, and re-injecting it back into the tissue, and using that to destroy blood cancers or leukemia. In our technologies, the differences are that we’re not taking anything out of the tissue, we’re injecting our compound into it and destroying it. But we’re teaching the immune system – we’re not actually modifying the actual cells, but we’re teaching the immune system – the memory T-celss – to go in, localize, hunt down, and destroy it. It’s very similar to when we were kids and we received the booster shots. With measles or mumps, rubella and whatever they were treating us with. Some kids developed a little bit of a mark on their arm, and other kids had no response. But you introduced a little bit of the disease, taught the body how to destroy it, and you immunized, or vaccinated the body against it. Very similar process here, we’re actually teaching the body how to recognize and destroy that. Why that’s important? Our lead cancer – bladder cancer – has an 80 percent recurrence rate. Can you imagine the impact to that individual stricken with a very deadly disease like bladder cancer, that you can destroy the primary tumour, and at the same time, immunize them or vaccinate them against further occurrences.

James West:           Sure. Okay well that’s fascinating Roger. Your cancer therapies are truly groundbreaking from all I can tell. I’m going to ask you a question that might be considered difficult, and public markets aside, and forward looking statements in full consideration, what is your personal feeling as to the future of your cancer therapies?

Roger White:           My personal feeling is, I have a great sense of accomplishment and pride in the work Theralase is doing. I think in order to make a difference with such a deadly disease as cancer, I am fully focused with my teams on the scientific, on the clinical side, on the engineering side, to bring this to market. Because I think this can do so much to help so many people. And if we can help people – all money aside – I think that’s a great great thing. When I die, I’d like them to write on my tombstone, “Helped to aid in the cure for cancer. I’d feel proud for that.”