Ovarian Cancer Cells Killed By New Drug

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(European Society for Medical Oncology) — Doctors in Europe are hopeful that a new drug, which acts in a different way from other drugs, will be effective for ovarian cancer. The drug, known as ET743, has been given to 50 patients with advanced ovarian cancer and preliminary results of the trial conducted by the Southern Europe New Drug Organisation (SENDO), were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology conference in Edinburgh.

“ET743 has a unique mechanism of killing tumour cells sometimes even when established drugs have failed,” said Dr Gabriella Parma from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. In the trial, the patients were divided into two groups. All the women had been previously treated with other anticancer drugs, namely cisplatin and taxanes, and later developed progressive cancer. The first group had ovarian cancer that had never responded to therapy. The other group of women had been treated successfully but had relapsed after six months. All the women received an infusion of ET743 every three weeks for at least two months. Once the dose had been stabilised, the treatment appeared to be well-tolerated without the risk of serious side-effects.

“We found that the tumour decreased in some of the patients including one patient who had not previously responded to prior therapies. We are encouraged by these results,” said Dr Parma. These results have been reviewed and confirmed by an independent panel of experts.

Further studies are needed to understand if these encouraging results translate into an improvement in survival in these cancer patients. Because the drugs work in different ways, Dr Parma and her team are now investigating combining ET-743 with cisplatin or taxol.

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