An interview with Réunion la 1ère regarding our clinical trials, its procedure and more

©Michelle Bertil

Dec 08, 2020 – As published on Réunion la 1ère (Translated)

After 5 years of work, Torskal, a start-up from Reunion Island specializing in “green nanotechnology”, is going to carry out clinical trials of a treatment it has developed for certain skin cancers. The trials will last one year and will involve around 60 people.

Testing will begin in the last quarter of next year, in Reunion Island and in mainland France. The efficiency and safety tests were conclusive. The work of the researchers is entering its operative, and therefore decisive, phase before the data is transmitted to the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products.

Torskal has started working on this treatment based on gold nanoparticles extracted from ambaville, a plant endemic to Reunion Island. At the bottom of the test tube, however, the liquid is purple in color, Anne-Laure Morel, the President of the start-up explains that “it is the particular physico-chemical characteristics of nanoparticles on this scale” that will be injected into tumor cells to treat skin cancers, subcutaneous like melanomas.

Gold nanoparticles and laser radiation

A medical laser with infrared radiation will then come to destroy these sick cells. A localized treatment, fast and painless compared to other drugs used in chemotherapy for example.

This is the first time that such trials have been conducted in Reunion Island in partnership with oncologists from the island and in health establishments belonging to the Clinifutur group, which supports the project. They will last between 12 and 18 months.

Anne-Laure Morel, founding president of Torskal, Ph.D. in the physical chemistry of materials and a master’s degree in structural biochemistry, specifies that these unprecedented trials will be conducted at the Clinique Sainte-Clotilde (CSC), in association with Drs. Mickaël Bègue and Youssef Slama, respectively radiation oncologist and head of the radiophysics unit at the CSC, and Antoine Bertolotti, dermatologist at the CHU de Saint-Pierre. In metropolitan France, parallel clinical trials will be conducted in collaboration with a public hospital.

According to Torskal, in Reunion Island, where the UV index is high all year round, the incidence rate of cutaneous melanoma is equivalent to that found in Australia. Every year, about a hundred new cases are recorded. The number of these skin cancers has multiplied by 5 in 10 years.

Article and video credit: Réunion la 1ère