Health & Fitness New drug shows promise in slowing growth of bowel cancer
New breast cancer drug could be ready within five years
The treatment, developed by Cancer Research UK, targets tumours caused by mutations in the BRCA genes - which prompted Angelina Jolie to have a preventative double mastectomy in 2013. Women with faulty BRCA genes typically have a 45 to 90 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and some, including Jolie, have a to reduce that risk when they find out they have the mutation.
Researchers have identified a potential new targeted treatment for incurable bowel cancer.
The medication has shown promise in a clinical trial in slowing the regrowth of tumours among some patients with the condition.
The trial looked at whether a drug called adavosertib, taken as a daily pill, could delay tumour regrowth among patients with an aggressive sub-type of inoperable bowel cancer who have limited treatment options.
Researchers compared 44 patients who took adavosertib with 25 patients who did not.
Patients dying of bowel cancer are given hope thanks to drug combo
Global trials carried out by US drug manufacturer Bristol Myers Squibb found that prescribing the immunotherapy drugs nivolumab and ipilimumab gave highly positive results. Both drugs train the immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells.The high number of mutations in MSI-H tumours means they are uniquely receptive to immunotherapy, Prof Bridgewater said: 'The mutations are so extreme, they stick out like a sore thumb to the immune system.
They found that the drug delayed tumour growth by about two months on average and had relatively few side effects.
The drug had more effect in the 31 patients with left-sided/rectal tumours, increasing overall survival – meaning patients lived longer.
Lead author Dr Jenny Seligmann, of the University of Leeds, said: “These results show promising signs that adavosertib may be effective in delaying regrowth of bowel cancer in some patients and is well tolerated.
“The findings are particularly encouraging as the subset of patients involved represent a third of all bowel cancer patients and, while other patients have treatments developed specifically for their tumour types, this group currently has very limited treatment options.”
Breast cancer facts and figures
About 150 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the UK every day.Here is some information about breast cancer in the UK.
The scientists caution that larger trials are needed to establish whether the drug improves survival compared with standard treatment.
The drug was trialled among patients on a treatment break following chemotherapy.
However, the research suggested adavosertib could benefit patients with other types of bowel cancer or alongside standard treatments in other lines of therapy.
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The subset of patients who took part in the trial had tumours with two common mutations, RAS and TP53.
Scientists hypothesised these mutations would make the tumours more sensitive to the drug.
According to researchers, about a third of colorectal cancer patients have tumours with these two mutations.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer.
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In the UK more than 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year.
The findings come from a large collaborative UK trial called FOCUS4 which aimed to investigate the best ways to help people with inoperable bowel cancer who have already received some chemotherapy.
Co-author Professor Louise Brown, from the Clinical Trials Unit at UCL and statistical lead for the FOCUS4 trial, said: “The results for the adavosertib arm of the trial are potentially important and represent a glimmer of hope for patients in this group.”
Adavosertib kills cancer cells by inhibiting a protein that helps to regulate the process of cell division in the tumour.
Side effects included fatigue, diarrhoea, neutropenia (involving low levels of white blood cells called neutrophils), and nausea, but none occurred in more than 11% of patients.
A second study from a separate part of the FOCUS4 trial called FOCUS4-N, also published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, looked at outcomes among patients who had a complete break from treatment following chemotherapy.
They were compared with outcomes among those who continued chemotherapy using a simpler tablet called capecitabine.
Researchers found that, among those who had a complete break, the cancer started to grow sooner than in those on continued maintenance therapy.
But that maintenance therapy did not lead to an increase in how long people lived, the study suggested.
The FOCUS4 trial is funded by the EME Programme – an MRC/NIHR partnership – and Cancer Research UK and is run from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL in collaboration with Oxford University, Leeds University and Cardiff University.
50 Years On, Real Progress in War Against Cancer .
THURSDAY, Nov. 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Since 1971, when the U.S. government made defeating cancer a goal and put major funding behind it, death rates for many cancers have plummeted, but some are increasing, according to a new American Cancer Society report. Death rates for all cancers combined have declined since passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, according to the report. For example, in 2019, deaths from lung cancer were down 44% from the 1993 peak. But death rates were higher than in 1971 for cancers of the pancreas, esophagus and brain.