First patient enrolment big milestone for Ferronova

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The hunt for an innovative approach to identifying high-risk lymph nodes is on.

Adelaide-based biotech Ferronova today enrolled the first patient in a clinical trial of its FerroTrace nanoparticle technology in patients with gastric and oesophageal cancers.  

It follows the completion of a first-in-human trial in 2020-2022 in oral cancer patients.   

The MAGMAP trial will enrol 60 patients and started today with the first patient at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, to be followed by Flinders Medical Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in South Australia, and then expanding to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Austin Hospital/Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre in Victoria. Trial imaging is supported by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the National Imaging Facility. 

The trial will assess the safety and tolerability, feasibility, and potential added diagnostic and clinical value of FerroTrace for mapping high-risk lymph nodes in subjects. 

Ferronova CEO Stewart Bartlett said it was potentially an important study offering the promise of an innovative approach for identifying and assessing lymph nodes at high risk of containing cancer. 

“Gastric, gastric-oesophageal junction, and oesophageal cancers have very poor outcomes, even where the tumour is localised to a primary location and surrounding lymph nodes where surgery is intended to be curative, and this trial is an important step to test whether our novel technology can improve outcomes in this group of patients,” he said. 

FerroTrace is a super-paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle targeting CD206 receptors found in lymph nodes. It offers a unique targeting mechanism designed to enable a longer lymph node retention time allowing the use of MRI and a handheld surgical magnetic detector to identify and assess lymph nodes containing FerroTrace. 

Study enrolment is predicted to take 12-15 months. 

Ferronova shareholders include Renew Pharmaceuticals, Uniseed, the University of South Australia, Artesian Venture Partners and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund, Powerhouse Ventures, the University of Wellington in New Zealand, the University of Sydney, PAN Ventures, Australian Unity, and ex-Macquarie Bank executive Allan Moss.  

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