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Biotech Stock Mailbag: Celsion

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Get ready for next week's first-ever Biotech Stock Mailbag Live Chat. Please join me on Friday, May 20, starting at 11 a.m. EDT for an hour (maybe more) of back-and-forth biotech-stock banter. I'll answer your questions and respond to your comments in what I hope will be an informative and fun discussion about the current state of the biotech investment sector.

You can pre-register for the Biotech Stock Mailbag Live Chat and receive an email reminder when the chat starts by signing up below. In the meantime, I'm doing my homework to prep for the event, so if you want to help, send me some questions and topics you'd like me to cover.

Let's get to this week's Mailbag:

@Magicsia tweets, "AF, with Delcath out of the way, definitely interested in your thoughts on Celsion and Thermodox for HCC. Way undervalued."

Celsion (CLSN), like Delcath Systems (DCTH), is developing a procedure to deliver high doses of chemotherapy directly to the site of cancer. While the initial target of both companies is tumors in the liver, Celsion's approach, unlike Delcath's, is also being studied as a treatment for cancer in other areas of the body as well.

The core of Celsion's tumor-killing technology is Thermodox -- tiny, heat-sensitive spheres of fat that contain a payload of the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. When injected into the body, Thermodox accumulates at the site of the tumor. When the tumor site is heated to about 107 degrees using radio waves (radiofrequency thermal ablation, or RFA), the Thermodox spheres melt, bathing the tumor and adjacent tissue in high levels of doxorubicin.

Celsion is conducting a phase III study in which 600 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as primary liver cancer, are being treated with Thermodox plus RFA or RFA alone. The primary endpoint of the study is to determine if the addition of Thermodox to RFA can significantly delay the re-growth of liver tumors compared to treatment with RFA alone. The study is being run under a Special Protocol Agreement reached with FDA.

RFA is a procedure often used by doctors to ablate, or remove, relatively small tumors from the liver that can't otherwise be excised surgically. While RFA can be curative, liver cancer can and does recur because some cancer cells remain in the surrounding tissue and start growing again. Celsion believes that the addition of Thermodox to RFA will kill enough of the cancer cells in the liver adjacent to the tumor to prevent or delay the return of the cancer.

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