Tocagen has formed strategic alliances with MRI Interventions and Brainlab to visualise local drug delivery in patients suffering from recurrent glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer.
Under the alliance, Tocagen will utilise MRI Interventions' ClearPoint neuro intervention system at selected sites in its ongoing investigational clinical trial for the delivery of Toca 511 into brain tumours, under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance.
As a retroviral replicating vector (RRV), Toca 511 is designed to deliver a cytosine deaminase gene selectively to cancer cells, which then converts the flucytosine (FC) prodrug into the anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil.
Tocagen is currently enrolling patients in its investigational, open-label, multicentre trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Toca 511 when injected into the brain tumour and followed by oral administration of Toca FC in patients with recurrent glioma.
Neurosurgeons participating in the Tocagen clinical trial plan to use the ClearPoint system to place the catheter into the brain tumour and then deliver Toca 511 directly into the tumour, while observing the delivery in real time via MRI.
Patient enrolment is currently underway at one of the several trial centres for the multicentre Phase 1/2 study.
MRI Interventions CEO, Kimble Jenkins, said: "Excitement among researchers and drug companies to explore use of the ClearPoint system for direct drug delivery began to build last year, on the heels of two research publications from UCSF."
Joseph Doyle, Brainlab CFO, said: "By offering a platform for delivering therapeutic agents direct to the central nervous system, we hope to make promising therapies more accessible to patients."