Tuesday 18 February 2014, 10:34AM
Media release from Peplin Biotech
Picato® (ingenol mebutate) gel, a new innovative topical
treatment was launched in New Zealand yesterday. Picato® gel
provides a short dosing duration for the treatment of solar
keratoses (a very common skin condition).1 Solar keratoses
(sometimes referred to as sun spots) often present as rough, scaly
patches pre-dominantly on skin frequently exposed to the sun, and
can lead to non-melanoma skin cancer if not diagnosed and treated
effectively.2,3 There are approximately 67,000 new cases of
non-melanoma skin cancers in New Zealand each year.4
Picato® gel is a topical treatment that patients apply once a day
for only two or three days, depending on the area of the body being
treated.1 Other topical treatments already available can require
weeks or even months of therapy, which patients can find difficult
to adhere to.5,6,7
Picato® gel works in two ways: firstly it kills sun-damaged cells
directly. Secondly, it stimulates the body's own immune system to
remove any remaining sun-damaged cells.8
Hon. Assoc. Prof. Amanda Oakley, Waikato Dermatologist and Manager
of DermNet New Zealand website, said: "This is great news for New
Zealand, where the total number of new melanoma and non-melanoma
skin cancer cases amount to around 80% of all new cancers each
year.4 If you have solar kera-toses, you have a high risk of
developing a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.9"
The availability of Picato® gel was announced at an event yesterday
evening in Auckland attended by leading Dermatologists, skin cancer
GPs, other health care professionals and key people involved in the
15 year research and development program to bring this new
medication to patients who need it. This launch follows approval
from the New Zealand regulatory authority (Medsafe) for the
treatment of solar keratoses in adults.1
A problem affecting many New Zealanders
Historically New Zealand has one of the highest non-melanoma skin
cancer inci-dences in the world.10 More than 90 per cent of skin
cancers are due to excessive sun exposure in high UV environments
such as New Zealand. UV levels are 40 per cent higher during summer
than at corresponding latitudes in the Northern hemisphere. A
significant proportion of the population has a fair skin type which
burns easily and most New Zealanders have an outdoor lifestyle and
a tendency to 'seek the sun'.10,11
Dr Peter Welburn, who was previously Head of R & D for Peplin
and whose team developed Picato® is thrilled that this new
treatment for actinic keratosis is now being made available to
patients in New Zealand. The approval of this product by MedSafe
here in New Zealand follows similar approvals in the US, Europe,
Canada and Australia.
A New Innovative Treatment
Picato® gel was discovered in Australia. This discovery led to the
formation of the Australian company Peplin Biotech, which evaluated
the anti-cancer properties of this compound in conjunction with the
Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).
The medication's active ingredient, ingenol mebutate, is derived
from the plant Euphorbia peplus, first discovered in 1997 by
Although Picato® gel is an Australian invention, NZ dermatologists
were involved in some important early stage clinical research that
was conducted locally.
1. New Zealand Picato® Data Sheet. 11 October 2013.
2. Cohen JL. Actinic kerstoses treatment as a key component of
preventive strategies for nonmelanoma skin cancer. J Clin Aesthet
Dermatol. Jun 2010;3(6):39-44.
3. Drake LA, Ceilley RI, Cornelison RL, et al. Guidelines of care
for actinic keratoses. Committee on Guidelines of Care. J Am Acad
Dermatol. Jan 1995;32(1):95-98.
(accessed Dec 2013)
5. Lebwohl M, Swanson N, Anderson LL, Melgaard A, Xu Z, Berman B.
Ingenol mebutate gel for actinic kerstoses. N Engl J Med. Mar 15
6. Shoimer I, Rosen N, Muhn C. Current management of actinic
keratoses. Skin Therapy Lett. May 2010;15(5):5-7.
7. Yentzer B, Hick J, Williams L, et al. Adherence to a topical
regimen of 5-fluorouracil, 0.5%, cream for the treatment of actinic
keratoses. Arch Dermatol. Feb 2009;145(2):203-205.
8. Berman B. New developments in the treatment of actinic
kerstoses: focus on ingenol mebutate gel. Clinical, Cosmetic and
Investigational Dermatology. 2012;5(1):111-122
9. Feldman SR, Fleischer AB, Jr. Progression of actinic kerstoses
to squamous cell carcinoma revisited: clinical and treatment
implications. Cutis; cutaneous medicine for the practitioner. Apr
10. Brougham NDL, Dennett ER, Tan ST. Non-melanoma skin cancers in
New Zealand-a neglected problem. NZ Med J. Nov 15
(accessed Dec 2013)
12. Stockfleth E, Kerl H. Guidelines for the management of actinic
keratoses. Eur J Dermatol. Nov-Dec 2006;16(6):599-606.
13. Criscione VD, Weinstock MA, Naylor MF, Luque C, Eide MJ,
Bingham SF. Actinic keratoses: Natural history and risk of
malignant transformation in the Veterans Affairs Topical Tretinoin
Chemoprevention Trial. Cancer. Jun 1 2009;115(11):2523-2530.
Full information is available from LEO Pharma Limited, Level 31,
Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010 New Zealand or by
calling 0800 497 456. Picato, LEO and LEO/lion device are
registered trademarks of LEO Pharma A/S, Denmark. © 2014
Return to homepage