US-based clinical-stage biotech firm Senesco Technologies (Senesco) has opened two new clinical trial sites at Pretoria East Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) in Cape Town, South Africa.
Pretoria East Hospital, a modern 358-bed facility, which includes the Albert Stem Cell Transplant Unit, is claimed to be the largest centre of its kind in Africa.
The haematology programme mostly treats patients with blood and marrow disorders, lymph cancers and also metabolic disorders.
GSH has a Clinical Hematology Division that offers comprehensive services to patients with blood disorders, including haematological malignancies.
Senesco president and chief executive officer Leslie Browne said: "The urban locations of Cape Town and Pretoria will provide access to a broader population of myeloma and lymphoma patients."
The company has also started treatment of the first patient in South Africa in its Phase Ib/IIa clinical study of its product candidate, SNS01-T.
SNS01-T is indicated for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, mantle cell (MCL) or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients.
The open-label, multiple-dose, dose-escalation trial is evaluating the safety and tolerability of SNS01-T when administered by intravenous infusion to about 15 relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, MCL or DLBCL patients.
The trial's primary objective is to assess safety and tolerability, the effect of SNS01-T on tumour response and time to relapse or progression will be evaluated using multiple well-established metrics including measurement of monoclonal protein in multiple myeloma and CT imaging in MCL and DLBC.
Senesco vice president of Clinical Development Alice Bexon said: "Cape Town and Pretoria are experienced research centers with state-of-the-art hematology and oncology facilities.
"South Africa has the benefit of modern medical facilities and up-to-date approaches to treatment but patients do not have access to as many therapeutic options as in the US."
Senesco is the sponsor of the Phase Ib/IIa study, and is currently enrolling patients at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown, WV, the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, Washington.
Image: Micrograph of a plasmacytoma, the histologic correlate of multiple myeloma. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.