Human trials have begun on a potentially groundbreaking cancer drug
(Medical Xpress)—In medical science, remarkable things sometimes happen that make years of toiling in the lab worthwhile.
Most rewarding is a discovery that could save lives, or at least makes an illness easier to bear.
"The odds are very small but you have that chance," says Professor Philip Hogg, who is at the helm of the first human trials of a potential new therapy designed to shrink cancerous tumours.
Only a handful of Australian researchers get the chance to be involved in, yet alone lead, a human trial of a drug that could transform clinical practice.
Professor Hogg, who is director of the Lowy Cancer Research Centre and was the 2009 NSW Cancer Researcher of the Year, and his colleague Dr Pierre Dilda developed the compound that could provide an alternative to chemotherapy.
The compound, named PENAO, inhibits how tumours metabolise sugar and is the latest invention for the scientists, who began working together on new cancer drug strategies more than a decade ago.
PENAO is a second-generation compound developed out of the success of trials in the UK of the first-generation compound, named GSAO.
Human trials of PENAO began in July at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and at Royal Melbourne Hospital and will include patients with solid tumours, such as those of the breast, prostate, colon and brain.
"Tumours metabolise sugar differently than normal tissue," Hogg says. "The compounds we have made target this difference."
While there are hurdles to overcome, Hogg is hopeful the compounds will form the basis of new cancer therapies.
"The first-generation molecule we made – the GSAO – at best, would stop tumours from growing, so the hope for that compound was to turn cancer into a manageable disease.
"With this second-generation compound, we're hoping to be able to take the process a step further and actually shrink the tumours."
Hogg says the "early signs are good – PENAO is well tolerated like the first-generation drug and is much more effective in pre-clinical testing".
The trial involves about 20 patients and is expected to last 18 months.
Medical oncologist Dr Jayesh Desai is the principal investigator who oversaw treatment of the first patient, a woman with late-stage cervical cancer, at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
"We are very excited to have treated the first patient. PENAO offers a very positive step forward," he says.
The drug is pumped directly into the bloodstream, which is considered the best delivery pathway and easiest for the patient. Participants can take the pump home with them and need only weekly hospital visits for check-ups. The drug is delivered in two cycles over a total of 42 days.
Dilda says being able to take cancer drugs from the bench to the bedside has been "a great achievement".
"As research scientists, we are fortunate to be involved in projects that have an impact in 'real life'," he says.
Hogg admits he was excited when, about 12 years ago, he and his team discovered the compounds they made were knocking out the power supply of cancer cells.
But he adds there are "degrees of excitement", with many stages to complete before the discovery can translate into cancer treatments.
However it is the hope of delivering a breakthrough – similar to the story of the discovery of insulin that inspired him as a student – that keeps him going.
"You have the chance of doing something fantastic. We all understand it's very infrequent and the odds of us doing something really worthwhile are pretty small – very small – but there's that chance and often that's enough."
Provided by University of New South Wales
- Scientists discover a way to kill off tumors in cancer treatment breakthrough Apr 05, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Potential cancer drug derived from Australian rainforest Jun 14, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Socking it to cancer Aug 02, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Chemical compound prevents cancer in lab May 13, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Silencing a deadly conversation in breast cancer Jun 02, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Use of the newer, more expensive intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and use of the older conformal radiotherapy (CRT) after surgical removal of all or part of the prostate gland were associated with similar morbidity ...
Cancer 34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
New research suggests that a compound abundant in the Mediterranean diet takes away cancer cells' "superpower" to escape death. By altering a very specific step in gene regulation, this compound essentially re-educates cancer ...
Cancer 54 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—For young adults needing either a chest or abdominopelvic computed tomography (CT), the short-term risk of death from underlying morbidity is greater than the long-term risk of radiation-induced ...
Cancer 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
In a new study described in the journal Oncogene, researchers reveal how a key player in cell growth, immunity and the inflammatory response can be transformed into a primary contributor to tumor growth.
Cancer 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new study conducted using extensive medical records of over one million Israeli adolescents before military service shows clearly how exposure to the Israeli sun of young, light-skinned children increases substantially ...
Cancer 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Individuals who learn two languages at an early age seem to switch back and forth between separate "sound systems" for each language, according to new research conducted at the University of Arizona.
28 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Nearly 20 percent of kidneys that are recovered from deceased donors in the U.S. are refused for transplant due to factors ranging from scarring in small blood vessels of the kidney's filtering units to the organ going too ...
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Discovery of circadian clock in mice hair reveals period of time when damage from radiotherapy can be quickly repaired
Discovering that mouse hair has a circadian clock - a 24-hour cycle of growth followed by restorative repair - researchers suspect that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy ...
41 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A Saudi man who had contracted the coronavirus has died, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 16, the health ministry announced on Monday on its Internet website.
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Little is known about the effect of physical education (PE) on child weight, but a new study from Cornell University finds that increasing the amount of time that elementary schoolchildren spent in gym class reduces the probability ...
28 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Video games that pit players against human-looking characters may be more likely to provoke violent thoughts and words than games where monstrous creatures are the enemy, according to a new study by researchers ...
30 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0