In what might be one of the significant breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research, a new drug combination is said to have shrunk tumours in almost half of patients with the disease, reported The Guardian. The new drug trials are being led by the Royal Marsden National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, United Kingdom.
What did the researchers find?
According to the UK-based newspaper report, the new treatment which tested the drug avutometinib alone and in combination with defactinib in 29 patients said that the latter helped block tumour growth and managed to keep the disease away for years. The combination drug worked for 45 per cent of the patients who saw their tumours shrink significantly, reported the Guardian.
It was also found to be nearly two times more effective than the next best treatment for ovarian cancer, trametinib, whose response rate to the disease was 26 per cent. Meanwhile, all patients who were a part of this trial had low-grade serous ovarian cancer, which is said to typically affect younger women.
At least 60 per cent of women with a particular mutation, KRAS-driven ovarian tumours, witnessed a better outcome of the drug combination. However, it also showed promising results for those without the mutation and worked for 29 per cent of patients, said the media report.
One of the drugs avutometinib is a dual RAF and MEK inhibitor which is said to block both and help control cancer growth and survival.
However, previous studies have shown that it can become ineffective over time as tumours develop resistance to treatment, but when combined with defactinib, which stops the protein, it encourages drug resistance. Therefore, defactinib makes avutometinib more than four times effective than when the latter was used alone.
‘Significant breakthrough’: Global lead investigator of the study about the finding
The global lead investigator of the study, Dr Susana Banerjee, said that the findings could represent a “significant breakthrough,” as per The Guardian. She added, “These initial results could be fantastic news for women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer, indicating a far more effective option than current treatments.”
Dr Banerjee who is also a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden and team leader in women’s cancers at the London-based Institute of Cancer Research, said that it is wonderful to see so many patients have such a “meaningful response” to the “innovative” drug trial, “I’m so grateful to all who joined the trial, making this research possible,” as quoted by The Guardian.
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