This is an anticancer drug called irinotecan that's been used to treat colon cancer.
It gets injected into a patient in an inactive form, before becoming active within the patient's body.
This action not only makes the drug less efficient, but it also has risks of side effects.
"Irinotecan is the most commonly used anticancer drug for metastatic colon cancer. It's inactive, so needs to be converted into an active anticancer substance, SN-38 in the liver. The conversion rate's about 5%, so it's necessary to develop a new anticancer compound to increase the treatment's effect."
Now, a domestic bio company has developed a method that melts the substances together in their active form, the first time that technology has made this possible.
"We attach a hydrophilic compound to the parts of the insoluble drug that have similar properties. That forms a primary particle. But this primary particle also has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic parts. So we've developed a method that encloses this amphipathic compound to melt the insoluble particles."
Last year, this bio development company presented their results from animal testing to the American Cancer Society, during which they showed the drug's anticancer substance to be four times more effective in their active state.
Since then, the company has conducted phase one clinical trials for colon cancer and stomach cancer, and aim to enter phase 2 of clinical trials by the second half of this year.
When this method becomes approved for commercialization, it will allow the anticancer drug to be administered in its active form, which would be in smaller doses than before with the additional advantage of reducing side effects.
Lee Eunjin, Arirang News.