Topical Treatment of Skin Toxicities Caused by Biological Anti-Cancer Drugs

Benny Ofra , HUJI, School of Medicine - IMRIC, School of Pharmacy- Institute for Drug Research

Dr. Sharon Merims, Hadassah Medical Center



  • Many of the anti-neoplastic tyrosine kinase inhibitors are associated with prominent and sometimes dose-limiting dermatologic complications. Of severe clinical implication are the specific EGFR inhibitors.
  • Most patients treated with these drugs suffer from severe impairment to their quality of life and require reduction or interruption in the anti-cancer drug protocols.
  • Treatment strategies today for treating skin toxicities from EGFR inhibitors show limited benefit.

Our Innovation

A novel approach for topical slow release system treating skin toxicities caused by anti-neoplastic EGFR inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors

  • Applying topical compounds that specifically and locally block the anti-cancer drugs.
  • Cell viability improvement.
  • Delivery of drug to the hair follicle.
  • Improve the quality of life of oncology patients suffering from skin toxicity.
  • Maintain an optimal antineoplastic dose allowing more patients to receive full dose anticancer therapy, thus improve response to therapy.

Pre-Clinical Results

  • Our finding uncover specific small molecules that were topically applied and delivered via a slow release system from biodegradable polymers to construct nanoparticles that penetrate the deep layers of the epidermis which are dense with EGFR.
  • Cell death inhibition induced by marketed anti-EGFR antibodies was observed.
  • The slow release system provides a long term protection to the skin tissue from the damage of the systemic administration of the biological drug.
  • The particles can accumulate in the hair follicle, locally remain in this site over time and do not penetrate through skin.

Fig. 1: C-1 improves viability of A431 cell cetuximab induced cell death by more than 50%.


Fig.2: Protective effect of C-1 and C-2 compounds on HaCaT cell line. 2uM C-1 compound improved viability of cetuximab treated HaCaT cells by 100% and 2uM C-2 compound improved viability of HaCaT cells by 62%.


Fig. 3: Biodegradable nanoparticles penetrate human skin and accumulate in the hair follicle and sebaceous glands. A) Accumulation of fluorescently labelled nanoparticles (in green) in hair follicles and sebaceous glands in close proximity to EGFR (labelled in red).  B) Higher resolution of hair follicle in a depicting overlay of nanoparticles and EGFR seen in yellow.


Contact for more information:

Keren-Or Amar
VP, Business Development, Healthcare
Contact ME: