Have the doctors made a breakthrough in the treatment of ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a dangerous condition that affects many women around the world. Researchers have now developed a novel targeted treatment for ovarian cancer that has shown very promising results in women in advanced stages of the disease.
Scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London found in their study that an investigated drug can be used effectively to treat ovarian cancer. The doctors published the results of their study at this year's American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.
Drug ONX-0801 has an almost immediate clinical effect
The experts examined the drug called ONX-0801 to check the safety for human consumption. Surprisingly, the researchers found that the drug leads to an almost immediate clinical effect. It shrank the tumors in half of the women treated, the researchers say. The results could lead to successful treatment of women who do not respond to the treatments currently available.
Tumors in subjects shrank and pain was reduced
Ovarian cancer is a difficult disease to treat and the prognosis in advanced stages is usually very poor, the scientists explain. For example, one of the participants was treated for a period of six months. During this time, the drug caused all three tumors in her body to shrink. This also massively reduced the patient's pain, the doctors add.
Treatment with medication saves side effects of chemotherapy
During the investigation, the experts found that in seven out of 15 patients the tumors had shrunk significantly. ONX-0801 is the first drug in a new class of drugs and works selectively against cancer cells by mimicking the ability of folic acid, the authors explain. The healthy tissue is not affected and side effects of traditional chemotherapy, such as diarrhea, nerve damage and hair loss, can be avoided.
Drug interferes with cancer cell chemistry
Once the drug attaches to a cancer cell, it interferes with its chemistry by blocking the action of a key molecule that normally causes widespread DNA damage and cell death, the experts explain.
More research is needed
The researchers now hope to conduct larger clinical trials as soon as possible. The experts have developed a test that can reliably identify which women are most likely to benefit from the treatment.
The drug can even be used to treat children
The results of the study are very promising, explains author Udai Banerji. It is very rare to see such clear evidence of reproducible reactions in such early stages of drug development, the expert adds. Another positive effect of the drug is that it leads to fewer side effects. Because of this, it can also be used to treat children with ovarian cancer. (as)