A pioneer in the field of contrast agents and with more than 80 years of experience, the French company Guerbet is the only pharmaceutical group fully dedicated to medical imaging worldwide. As such it has a complete offering of contrast products for X-ray and MRI and for interventional radiology, along with a range of injectors and related medical equipment to provide improved diagnosis and treatment of patients.
One of the company’s earliest products was Lipiodol Ultra Fluid which was initially developed many years ago for diagnostic radiology in indications including liver lesion diagnosis, lymphography and hysterosalpingography. With its well-established safety profile, the product has also been used in interventional radiology for conventional trans-arterial chemo-embolization (cTACE) procedures of multinodular hepatocellular carcinoma. In these applications, Lipiodol Ultra Fluid is used not only as a procedure visualizer (contrast agent) but also as a drug vehicle (drug carrier and eluter) and an embolic.
The cTACE procedure has been widely reported in the peer-reviewed scientific and clinical literature including descriptions of over 100 clinical studies, of which 12 were international randomized controlled trials. A total number of more than 10,000 patients with intermediate stage HCC have undergone cTACE. The procedure has recently been established as the standard-of-care for the treatment of patients with intermediate stage HCC by three international clinical consensus guidelines in Japan, Europe and the United States.
Guerbet have now announced that they have established a collaboration with the Australia-based Sirtex Medical to pursue major clinical studies in primary and metastatic liver cancer. The objective of the collaboration is to examine how Sirtex’s SIR-Spheres microspheres and Guerbet’s Lipiodol Ultra Fluid may be combined optimally — and further developed — to address the significant unmet clinical need in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, metastatic colorectal cancer, metastatic neuroendocrine tumors and a range of other primary and secondary liver cancers.
Sirtex’s SIR-Spheres microspheres are used in selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT), also known as radioembolization, for the treatment of patients with inoperable liver tumors. The microspheres have been shown in randomized controlled trials to increase survival in patients with inoperable liver metastases from primary colorectal cancer.
Sirtex’s Chief Executive Officer, Gilman Wong said that “We hope that through this clinical studies collaboration we can make further gains for the benefit of the patients with liver cancer. Should the initial collaboration prove fruitful, future collaborations in R&D and marketing between Sirtex and Guerbet will be considered”.
Guerbet’s Chief Executive Officer, Yves L’Epine, said “We are excited about the potential of combining or sequencing our products to improve the efficacy of interventional radiology procedures in patients with unresectable hepatic tumors. Indeed, while Lipiodol and SIR-Spheres individually are well proven and widely used therapies in their own right, they have never been formally evaluated together or sequentially”.