Preliminary results from an ongoing Phase 1/2 human trial indicate a new drug dubbed OMO-103 can safely and effectively inhibit the function of a gene known to drive the growth of many common forms of cancer.
For decades scientists have known a specific gene, called MYC, plays a crucial role in the proliferation of cancer cells.
The gene is often over expressed in a variety of different tumors, so it has been any ideal hypothetical target for novel cancer treatments.
“MYC is one of the ‘most wanted’ targets in cancer because it plays a key role in driving and maintaining many common human cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and ovarian cancer,” explained Elena Garralda, one of the researchers working on the new clinical trial.
No serious adverse effects from the experimental drug were detected in the trial.
Biopsies from the patients’ cancers after the drug treatment revealed decreases in MYC gene activity.
“Remarkably, one patient with pancreatic cancer stayed on the study for over six months, his tumor shrank by 8% and there was a reduction in tumor-derived DNA circulating in the blood stream. The patient with a salivary gland tumor has stable disease and is still in the study after 15 months.”
Lawrence Young, a molecular oncologist from the University of Warwick, said these results are exciting evidence of successfully targeting the MYC gene in cancer patients.
“If subsequent trials of this new MYC-targeted drug hold up, then exploring combinations with other chemotherapy drugs or some of the new agents that stimulate the body’s immune response to cancer hold out the prospect of new, more effective treatments.”