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R600m Deal to Develop Theranostics Cancer Treatment

MARTIN MAGWAZA
Co-Founder & President of BGM Pharma

A breakthrough in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the subsequent R600m deal to take it to market, proves not only that drug research and development is alive and well in South Africa, but that collaboration between the government and the private sector is not only possible, but can deliver positive results. BGM Pharma has entered into a landmark partnership with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and the University of Cape Town (UCT), to bring GluCABTM, a new theranostic, to market.

Frontiers in Cancer Therapy
17 March 2017

Today’s edition of Science includes a special section on cancer therapy with the revealing subtitle, “Stocking oncology’s medicine cabinet.”

As the introductory editorial explains, cancer is a complex disease in which genetic variations that influence tumour growth can fluctuate not only between patients but within different areas of a single tumour.

The editors are optimistic that new cancer drugs, with different mechanisms of action are in the pipeline, and believe that “clinicians will continue experimenting with combinations of drugs, which history has shown can be more effective than treating with single agents.”

Jocelyn Kaiser explores the notion that “less is more”, in which some oncologists are adopting a strategy – considered to be heresy in the cancer treatment world – where instead of taking daily pills, patients receive their drugs intermittently.

A New Frontier for Cancer Diagnostics
15 March 2017

A histological slide of cancerous breast tissue. The pink “river ways” are normal connective tissue; the dark grains are cancer cells.

As the second leading cause of death globally, cancer was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015, approximately 70% of which occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

The global burden of cancer will grow over the next two decades, with an estimated 22 million new cases and 13 million deaths each year by 2032.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has entered into a landmark partnership with BGM Pharma and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) to bring a new theranostic called GluCAB to market.

The term “theranostics” was coined to define an agent used for diagnosis via imaging followed by therapy, and it’s fast becoming the norm in personalised medicine.

A first for South Africa, the partnership signifies a breakthrough in cancer diagnosis and treatment.