Potentially cancer-stopping pill given to first patient
City of Hope, one of the US’s largest cancer research and treatment organisations, has developed AOH1996, a new cancer drug that appears to help in treating patients with recurring solid tumours.
The drug is currently in a phase 1 trial at City of Hope, Los Angeles, which aims to test the maximum dose of the pill as well as checking the efficacy at this early stage. Suitable patients include adults who have solid tumours but haven’t found traditional treatments effective. Patients in the trial will take the drug, in pill form, twice daily.
The trials are expected to last for the next two years, but at this stage the pill has been effective in preclinical research when it comes to treating cells from various cancers. The proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) drug is expected to be a less toxic cancer treatment as it targets mutated cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone. It appears to also prevent the growth and spread of the cancer cells.
Dr Vincent Chung, a Research Professor in City of Hope’s Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, and a principal investigator in this clinical trial, said, “By targeting PCNA, we are inhibiting the complex machinery to stop cellular growth and proliferation. This is a new way of trying to kill cancer cells or at least slow it down.”
Dr Daniel Van Hoff of the Molecular Medicine Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, part of City of Hope, and an advisor on the study, added: “Since many patients’ cancers become resistant to our standard therapies, we need new therapeutics with new mechanisms of action. AOH1996 is just that kind of new therapy.”