New hope for renal patients after successful trial
A KIDNEY cancer drug which starves tumours of the nutrients it needs to survive has successfully stopped the growth of the cancer in 93 per cent of patients, researchers have revealed.
The breakthrough treatment targets a chemical that cancer cells use to digest food.
Experts believe the drug CB-839, when used in combination with another cancer treatment could offer hope to people with advanced kidney cancer.
The combination of drugs stopped tumour growth in 93 per cent – 14 out of 15 – patients with renal cancer who took part in a clinical trial at the University of Texas.
The research was presented by Dr Funda Meric-Bernstam, medical director of the Institute of Personalised Cancer Therapy at the University of Texas to the Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Germany.
“This is the first time that a drug that inhibits renal cancer cells from metabolising has been used in clinical trials,” she said.
“We feel the results are very promising because a high proportion of patients experienced a halt in tumour growth, with one even experiencing tumour shrinkage.
“For more than half of these patients their time on this treatment has been longer than the time they remained on their prior treatment, which is considered to be a good sign.”
CB-839 targets a key enzyme called glutaminase, which is used by the tumour to create food and grow larger. But researchers hope by targeting glutaminase, CB-839 starves the tumour of the nutrients it needs to survive.
The tumour shrank by more than 30 per cent in one patient, was stable in 13 other patients and grew by more than 20 per cent in the last patient.
Patients who took part in the clinical trial had advanced kidney cancer that had started to spread to other parts of the body.
The patients had an average age of 60 and had already gone through an average of two lines of treatment.
Dr Meric-Bernstam said: “This group were representative of the demographic who suffer from advanced renal cancer.”
They were given CB-839 in oral doses that ranged from 400-800 mg twice a day in combination with a dose of another anti-cancer drug known as everolimus.
Dr Meric-Bernstam said the drug had no severe side effects.
She added: “The side effects we observed were very tolerable when we look at the spectrum of effects that other anti-cancer drugs can have.
“Patients experienced tolerable nausea and some change to liver function, but this was reversible.”
The drug still needed to pass through two more trials before it could be approved for general use. Experts believe the treatment could be available to patients within ten years.
Experts are also planning to test if CB-839 can be used to treat other types of cancer, including kidney cancer, lung cancer and melanoma.
Nick Turkentine from Kidney Cancer UK said: “We are delighted to see the advancements in drug therapies relating to kidney cancer.
“Once brought to market this combination treatment gives hope to thousands of patients for whom other treatments have failed.
“The research which is going on for kidney cancer, and for the treatment of cancers in general, is exciting and every day brings us closer to halting the advance of this terrible disease.”
Read the full article by OLIVIA LERCHE on The Express website here