Liposome Patient Trial Shows Promise for New Treatment

The first clinical trial of liposomes for IC in actual patients has just been published, taking a giant step forward toward getting a helpful new therapy to you. Michael Chancellor, MD at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan was the first to see liposomes' potential as carriers of helpful medicine into the bladders of IC patients. But then, he and his team saw that liposomes alone could work just as well as liposomes carrying a painkiller related to hot peppers.

Now, Yao-Chi Chuang, MD, and colleagues at the Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan have treated IC patients with liposome instillations, in a physician initiated trial approved by the Taiwan's health regulatory agency and hospital IRB, checking safety and comparing the results with a standard therapy. Over four weeks of treatment, the patients who got instillations once a week had no problems with it and did better than those who got oral pentosan polysulfate (Elmiron). Both groups had their frequency and nighttime voiding go down, but those who got liposomes also had significant decreases in pain, urgency, and symptom scores. Of course, larger, longer, and controlled clinical trials have to be done before this treatment can be approved for marketing in the United States.

The team is continuing their animal research with other medications carried in liposomes. They had researched a marijuana-like medication that attached mainly to cannabinoid receptor 1. But now, cannabinoid receptor 2 looks more promising as a bladder target. Although compounds aimed at this receptor are also being developed, it may be some time before they are studied as instillations with liposomes. Recently, Dr. Chancellor and associates began studying liposomes carrying botulinum toxin A (Botox) as a potentially helpful treatment for IC. Some of their just-published animal research shows that empty liposomes (LP-08, Lipella Pharmaceutical, Inc.) also have potential to work better than bladder instillations of DMSO or Elmiron.

Posted August 27, 2009