Monthly Archives: November 2005

Cedara Software Showcases Innovative New Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Technologies at RSNA 2005

  • 11/30/2005
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • press release
  • PR Newswire (www. prnewswire.com)

Cedara Software, a Merge Healthcare company (Nasdaq: MRGE; TSX: MRG) and a leading independent developer of medical software technologies for the global healthcare market, today announced its exhibition of a works-in-progress suite of software solutions for oncology diagnosis and treatment analysis at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Oncology is one of the fastest growing areas for medical imaging in healthcare. With a wealth of experience in developing disease centric solutions for healthcare specialists, Cedara will introduce a new clinical product line named Cedara OncologyWorks to the radiology community at RSNA. Applications demonstrated will include functional components designed to assist with therapy planning and response assessment through PET/CT fusion, magnetic resonance (MR) based functional diffusion mapping, tracking quantitative tumour measurements over time, patient follow-up management and more.

Cedara OncologyWorks provides first of kind support for diagnostic and therapeutic assessment for radiologists and radiation oncologists; for PACS vendors, device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and other solution providers, Cedara OncologyWorks provides leading edge capability in oncology care.

Cancer is a major public cost for healthcare in the United States as well as in other developed countries. In 2004 alone, a total of 1,368,030 new cancer cases and 563,700 deaths are predicted to have occurred in the United States alone.

Among the products demonstrated at RSNA, Cedara will be highlighting progress in the development of its multi-modality workstation Cedara I-Response(TM). Cedara I-Response is a works-in-progress software solution that features an exclusive technology for molecular imaging known as Functional Diffusion Mapping(TM) (fDM(TM)) for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Based on landmark work at the University of Michigan, the application was designed for therapy response assessment. Differing from standard techniques that use anatomical images to evaluate tumour growth, functional diffusion mapping is an imaging technique that can visualize changes in tumour tissue resulting from cellular mechanisms; because of this, it has the potential to precisely monitor at an earlier point the impact of cancer therapies and provide valuable diagnostic information. By giving radiologists, oncologists, researchers and others a sophisticated tool to study tumour activity at both the cellular and anatomical level, it is hoped that this technology may provide the foundation on which fast, efficient and personalized cancer treatment can develop.

Initial clinical work showed tremendous promise for fDM in the area of brain cancer care, and the assessment of brain tumour response to therapy. Researchers are now beginning to investigate new clinical domains, such as head and neck cancer and breast cancer.

Recent journal articles highlighting the potential clinical impact of this technology include, Moffat, Bradford A., et al., “Functional diffusion map: A noninvasive MRI biomarker for early stratification of clinical brain tumor response”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), April 2005 and Hamstra, Daniel A., et al., “Evaluation of the functional diffusion map as an early biomarker of time-to-progression and overall survival in high-grade glioma”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), November 2005.

“I-Response provides a strong platform on which radiologists and radiation oncologists can work together in a united effort to fight cancer,” said Harald Zachmann, Oncology Market Manager at Cedara Software. “With a component based architecture, all of the applications in OncologyWorks can be easily integrated into existing OEM products; a number of our OEM partners have expressed keen interest in this technology due to its broad implications to cancer care. As we have seen in a variety of clinical specialties, our technology’s ability to assist healthcare professionals with fast, efficient and accurate diagnostic information is unsurpassed.”

Cedara Software is a Merge Healthcare company focused on the development of custom engineered software applications and development tools for the medical imaging OEM and International markets. Cedara software is deployed in hospitals and clinics worldwide and is licensed by many of the world’s leading medical device and healthcare information technology companies. Cedara technologies and expertise span all the major digital imaging modalities including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), digital X-ray, mammography, ultrasound, echo-cardiology, angiography, nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and fluoroscopy. Cedara medical imaging offerings are used in all aspects of clinical imaging workflow including the capture of a patient’s digital image; the archiving, communication and manipulation of digital images; sophisticated clinical applications to analyze digital images; and the use of imaging in minimally- invasive surgery. For additional information, visit http://www.cedara.com/ .

November, 2005|Archive|

Spreading the word on deadly mouth cancer

  • 11/30/2005
  • Victoria, Australia
  • Lorna Edwards
  • The Age (theage.com.au)

UP TO four Victorians are diagnosed with oral cancer every week, with more than a quarter of them dying from the disease. The cancer claimed the lives of 43 men and 22 women in Victoria in 2003, with 230 people diagnosed that year, according to Cancer Council Victoria figures released yesterday.

“I’m sure the public aren’t aware of the strong connection between tobacco use and mouth cancer,” said council director Professor David Hill.

Almost 60 per cent of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers. Alcohol significantly boosts the risk, with more than three-quarters of those diagnosed being frequent drinkers.

Symptoms of oral cancer — which occurs in the tongue, gum, floor of the mouth or internal cheek — include swelling, non-healing ulcers, colour change and persistent bleeding. Five years after being diagnosed with the disease, just over half the patients will still be alive.

Many face extensive surgery, facial disfigurement, loss of teeth and difficulty in speech, said Todd Harper, director of anti-smoking organisation Quit. But quitting smoking dramatically reduces the risk of contracting oral cancer.

“Within five years, their risk has dropped by a half,” Mr Harper said.

A detailed colour picture of a mouth afflicted with oral cancer will appear as one of the new cigarette packet health labels next year.

“Smokers are going to be shocked on March 1 when they start to buy packets with a very graphic picture of mouth cancer and bad teeth as a result of smoking,” Professor Hill said.

“Some of these things will turn your stomach — but the point, is getting cancer is much worse than that,” he said.

Oral cancer survivor Jean-Loup Komarower, who quit smoking 15 years ago, discovered he had the disease after having a tooth removed in 2003.

His right jawbone was removed and replaced with bone from his leg, followed by radiotherapy treatment.

“If I had known what I was going to suffer, I would never, never have smoked,” he said.

“At the time I had no idea and I was doing what other people were doing around me, thinking, ‘It won’t happen to you.”‘

November, 2005|Archive|

Test Predicts Hidden Lymph Node Metastases in Oral Cancer Patients

  • 11/29/2005
  • staff
  • cancerconsultants.com

A test to detect changes in the Cyclin D1 gene provides information about the probability of occult (hidden) lymph node metastases in patients with stage I or stage II squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth, according to a study published in the journal Cancer .

Cancer of the oral cavity involves the tongue, gums, the inner lining of the cheeks and lips, the hard palate, or the floor of the mouth. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of oral cancer; it refers to the type of cell in which the cancer originates. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is strongly linked with tobacco use, and the combination of tobacco with alcohol further increases risk.

Among patients with early (stage I or stage II) OSCC, an important clinical decision involves whether or not to remove and evaluate lymph nodes in the neck for evidence of occult metastases. The presence of lymph node metastases is an important indicator of prognosis and guides treatment decisions. Some patients are at greater risk of having lymph node metastases and are therefore more likely to benefit from lymph node dissection.

One potential predictor of the presence of lymph node metastases is the Cyclin D1 gene. The protein produced by this gene plays a role in cell proliferation.

To evaluate the relationship between numerical alterations in the Cyclin D1 gene and postoperative lymph node metastases, researchers in Japan conducted a study among 45 patients with stage I or stage II oral cancer. Patients had surgery to remove the cancer, but did not undergo lymph node dissection. A majority of the patients (33 of 45) had cancer of the tongue.

Abnormalities in the Cyclin D1 gene were evaluated by the laboratory method of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH); OSCC tissue removed by fine needle aspiration was used. A numerical alteration in the Cyclin D1 gene was defined as three or more signals for CCND1 in at least 20% of the evaluated nuclei. Fifteen of 45 patients (33%) had evidence of numerical alterations in Cyclin D1.

Patients with numerical alterations in the Cyclin D1 gene were more likely than other patients to be diagnosed with lymph node metastases.

-After a median of 29 months of follow-up, 17 of the 45 patients (38%) were diagnosed with cervical lymph node metastases.

-17% of patients without numerical alterations in Cyclin D1 developed postsurgical lymph node metastases.

-80% of patients with numerical alterations in Cyclin D1 developed postoperative lymph node metastases.

There was no relationship between numerical alterations in Cyclin D1 and age, gender, cancer site, or cancer stage.

The researchers conclude that numerical alterations in the Cyclin D1 gene predict the occurrence of lymph node metastases in patients with stage I or stage II oral cancer. Tests to detect these alterations may help identify patients who are most likely to benefit from cervical lymph node dissection.

Reference:
Myo K, Uzawa N, Miyamoto R et al. Cyclin D1 Gene Numerical Aberration is a Predictive Marker for Occult Cervical Lymph Node Metastasis in TNM Stage I and II Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity. Cancer. Early Online publication November 1, 2005.

November, 2005|Archive|

Australian cancer drug offers hope to patients

  • 11/28/2005
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Amy Lawson
  • The Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au)

Australian cancer experts are spearheading the trial of a new drug that is dramatically improving the survival rates of patients with aggressive head and neck cancers.

The drug, which has ramifications for the treatment of other aggressive forms of cancer including those in the lungs, cervix and oesophagus, could be available as soon as the end of next year if given the green light by drug administrators.

Professor Lester Peters, a world leader in cancer research from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, is leading the trial for the drug tirapazamine. The trial is in its final testing phase and has already had some astounding results.

Sandy Bodecker, the former husband of runner Cathy Freeman, participated in one of the trials. He made a full recovery from the throat cancer he was originally told was inoperable.

In the first phase of the trial, only two of the 16 patients with advanced head or neck cancers had a recurrence of their tumours after receiving treatment with the drug.

“It can be a cure, but not in everyone,” Professor Peters said yesterday in Sydney. “But a huge proportion of patients have had their tumours eradicated if they’ve been treated with this drug.

“It’s a very gruesome way to die – of uncontrolled cancer in the head and neck. If we can prevent that . . . we’ve done them a service.”

Head and neck cancers are almost always found in smokers and are among the most difficult of all cancers to treat. Cure rates for advanced disease are poor and patients often end up with significant disabilities.

Professor Peters said tirapazamine worked by targeting cancer cells that were starved of oxygen, which were typically resistant to conventional treatment and particularly malignant. The drug is used with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“The triple combination has been shown to have a good effect in this advanced form of cancer,” Professor Peters said.

Dr Chris Milross, head of Radiation Oncology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Sydney Cancer Centre, said the trials had the potential to change the standard treatment given to patients with head and neck cancers.

“It shows our dedication to groundbreaking research, and also illustrates that our patients have the potential to get the benefit of that leading research,” he said.

“It’s not a big stretch to imagine the same sorts of principles transferred to other cancers such as lung, cervix and oesophagus.”

The second stage of phase three of the trial, involving 550 patients around the world, is under way and should be finished by June.

If the final stage is successful, the drug can then be registered by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Source: The Sun-Herald

November, 2005|Archive|

PreViser Offers Free Oral Cancer Risk Assessment Tool as part of the Oral Health Information Suite(TM)

  • 11/28/2005
  • Mount Vernon, WA
  • press release
  • Send2Press (www.send2press.com)

PreViser Corporation (www.previser.com) announces that effective November 1, 2005 it will no longer charge for use of its Internet-based tool to assess risk for oral cancer, a component of their Oral Health Information Suite(TM), software used by dental professionals worldwide.

“Early detection of oral cancer is essential to a successful outcome of treatment for this serious disease,” states Carl Loeb, PreViser CEO. “Once oral cancer is visible, the disease has advanced significantly. Using our tool to identify high-risk patients allows clinicians to recommend appropriate tests and exam frequency, improving the odds of catching the disease early enough for intervention. Since the dental professional is the first line of detection for this cancer, we made the decision to promote our tool’s usage by offering the service free of charge in the sincere hope that it will result in earlier detection of the disease.”

The OHIS(TM) Oral Cancer Risk Assessment requires no expensive or unusual testing. Most information can be provided by the patients themselves on a printed data input form while they wait, then the clinician can complete the assessment and immediately produce a printed report for the patient with a numeric score and recommendations targeted to each risk factor to prevent or detect the disease in the earliest stages.

Current users have organized special events focusing on oral cancer, offering free risk screenings to new patients. This is an effective way for dental professionals to raise consumer awareness of the importance of risk and preventive care, as well as improve the services they can offer. Recently, the tool was used at a screening event by dentists and physicians at Pocono Medical Center in Stroudsburg, PA. Dr. Randy Nolf, periodontist and PreViser co-founder, reported on his participation in that event, saying, “This was the best, most comprehensive screening I’ve ever participated in. The risk reports were very revealing, greater insight for the examining doctors and increased understanding for patients. This should become a routine part of every dental and medical practice.”

The Oral Cancer tool is a component of the Oral Health Information Suite(TM), version 2.1, available for free download at www.previser.com. The OHIS(TM) offers a range of products in one convenient application. With version 2.1, the tools included allow dental clinicians to create accurate, objective, and quantitative reports to identify periodontal risk and disease, tooth risk (caries, fracture, and root defects), and oral cancer risk.

PreViser Corporation provides web-enabled diagnostic decision support tools for dental professionals. The PreViser Oral Health Information Suite(TM) enables quick, accurate, reproducible and objective diagnosis in an easy-to-understand format for the dental professional and the patient.

November, 2005|Archive|

Ethyol® Decreases Xerostomia Without Increasing Recurrences Following Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer Patients

  • 11/28/2005
  • staff
  • cancerconsultants.com

An international randomized trial has determined that Ethyol (amifostine) protects against xerostomia while not affecting long-term outcomes in patients with head and neck cancer who undergo radiation therapy. The details of this study appeared in the November 15, 2005, issue of International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.

Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat patients with head and neck cancers. Mucositis and xerostomia are common side effects of treatment of head and neck cancers. Ethyol has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for prevention of radiation induced xerostomia but there has been concern that this agent could increase the rate of recurrences. Ethyol has also been used to prevent mucositis and renal toxicity in patients receiving chemotherapy.

The goal of the present trial was determine whether or not Ethyol increased the recurrence rate. This trial included over 300 patients who underwent radiation therapy for treatment of head and neck cancer. Approximately half of the patients received a dose of Ethyol administered 15–30 minutes prior to each dose of radiation therapy, while the other half underwent radiation only and did not receive Ethyol.

-Overall, dry mouth was improved and long-term outcomes were not compromised with the use of Ethyol.

-At over 2 years follow-up, use of Ethyol resulted in a significantly reduced incidence of xerostomia with a clinically meaningful increase in saliva production.

-Overall survival, progression-free survival, and local control were not different between the patients who received Ethyol and those who did not receive Ethyol.

These researchers concluded that Ethyol significantly improves xerostomia in patients with head and neck cancer who are treated with radiation therapy. Furthermore, Ethyol does not compromise outcomes in these patients, as overall survival, progression-free survival, and local control was similar to patients who did not receive Ethyol in this trial.

Comments:
These are reassuring results and should stimulate further interest in investigating Ethyol for prevention of radiation and chemotherapy toxicities.

Reference:
Wasserman T, Brizel D, Henke M, et al. Influence of intravenous amifostine on xerostomia, tumor control, and survival after radiotherapy for head-and- neck cancer: 2-year follow-up of a prospective, randomized, phase III trial. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics . 2005; 63: 985-990.

November, 2005|Archive|

Benefits of Inovio’s Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation Therapy

  • 11/27/2005
  • San Diego, CA
  • press release
  • Medical News Today (www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Inovio Biomedical Corporation announced today that the European Journal of Surgical Oncology published an article, entitled “The role of intratumour therapy with electroporation and bleomycin in the management of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.” Co-authors of the article were Dr. David Bloom, now at the Department of Otolaryngology/ Head and Neck Surgery, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Virginia and Dr. Paul Goldfarb, Consulting Medical Director at Inovio Biomedical and Clinical Professor of Surgery at University of California, San Diego, California.

The article reported the safety and efficacy of Inovio’s Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation therapy, which uses electroporation in conjunction with bleomycin, in patients with head and neck advanced squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Two open-label, multicenter, single-arm Phase II studies enrolled 62 patients with 86 squamous cell carcinoma tumors of the head and neck. Twenty-five patients were treated with bleomycin alone. Fifty-four patients (17 initially treated with bleomycin alone) were treated with electroporation and bleomycin therapy.

The local control rate of treatment for patients with recurrent HNSCC, consisting of surgery, radiation therapy and/or systemic chemotherapy, ranges between 10% and 20%. Thus, there is a need for alternative approaches.

In this trial, 57% of patients had an objective response with either a partial or complete response to electroporation with bleomycin. Electroporation therapy in combination with bleomycin demonstrated a significantly (p<0.001) greater number of patients showing an objective response to the therapy when compared to bleomycin alone, which resulted in a 4% objective response rate with no complete responses. The authors observed that the overall 30% survival rate at one year was consistent with the overall survival rate of patients with advanced stage HNSCC. The adverse event profile of intratumour bleomycin with electroporation treatment differed greatly from systemic bleomycin and other current chemotherapeutic agents used in HNSCC, with fewer systemic side effects than other means of administering bleomycin. Little surrounding destruction of tissue, compared to surgery, and few side effects make this therapy favorable for local control of disease.

“For patients who have failed prior therapy or have lesions in locations where surgical removal would be highly morbid, this therapy may provide an alternative approach,” said Dr. Goldfarb, the corresponding author. “If survival outcomes for different modalities are the same, the one with the better individual quality of life and decreased cost to society will become increasingly more important.”

“Publishing compelling data on our Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation therapy in yet another respected medical journal validates the importance of this system,” said Avtar Dhillon, MD, president and CEO of Inovio. “As we continue to work with more physicians and treat more patients, we look forward to the release of more data and advancing the commercialization process of this novel treatment.”

About Inovio’s Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation Therapy

Inovio’s Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation (SECTA) therapy consists of its MedPulserR electroporation device, which significantly enhances local cellular uptake of useful biopharmaceuticals, in conjunction with a designated chemotherapeutic agent and is designed to destroy malignant tissue without harming normal healthy tissue. The therapy is intended to provide physicians with an easy-to-use alternative to surgery to provide local tumor control. Surgery is a clinical tool frequently used to remove solid tumors, but can result in disfigurement and function loss. Inovio’s SECTA therapy is highly selective in killing cancerous cells and can minimize or avoid these outcomes, while potentially improving patient quality of life and reducing treatment and hospitalization costs.

About Inovio Biomedical Corporation

Inovio Biomedical Corporation is a late stage biomedical company focused on building an oncology franchise based on its proprietary electrochemical tumor ablation system. The therapy targets a significant unmet clinical need: the selective killing of cancer cells and local ablation of solid tumors while preserving healthy tissue. Inovio is moving its lead product, the MedPulserR, through pre-marketing studies for head and neck cancer and skin cancers in Europe, where it has CE Mark accreditation, a U.S. Phase III pivotal study for recurrent head and neck cancer, and a Phase I pancreatic cancer trial. Vical, University of Southampton , and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center are using Inovio’s gene delivery technology in the first-ever clinical studies of novel DNA vaccines delivered using electroporation, which enhances local delivery and cellular uptake of useful biopharmaceuticals, and Merck is a development partner for the gene delivery technology.

November, 2005|Archive|

Role of melatonin in cancer treatment is looking compelling

  • 11/27/2005
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • staff
  • Medical News Today (www.medicalnewstoday.com)

The role of melatonin for the treatment of cancer is looking compelling, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pineal Research. Researchers say that the results are so compelling that cancer funding agencies should be eager to support clinical trials to evaluate its therapeutic role in a variety of cancers.

Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in humans. Its association with cancer has been shown in many studies assessing links between shift work and cancer rates, and shown a consistent relationship. The association between melatonin levels and cancer progression has suggested to some that melatonin may be a modifier of cancer progression. In this latest study, researchers examined all clinical trials assessing the role of melatonin as a therapy for solid tumor cancers. They used a methodology called meta-analysis, a technique of analyzing multiple studies. The authors reviewed 10 randomized clinical trials that included a total of 643 cancer patients with a variety of different solid tumor cancers. The types of cancers involved included lung, brain, skin, renal and breast cancer. “In this analysis, the effects appeared to be consistent across studies” say the authors. The researchers examined the effect of large doses of melatonin (10-40mg/day) on survival rates at one year. Melatonin reduced the risk of death at one year by 34%. “Effects this large certainly warrant further clinical trials” say the authors. The study also showed that melatonin was predominantly safe and had a beneficial effect on sleep patterns of patients.

All of the clinical trials involved in their study were from Europe from a related network of clinical researchers in Italy and Poland. The researchers, from McMaster University and the University of Toronto in Canada, say that their analysis also shows that clinical trials in North America should have been initiated back in 1996/7 as the results from Europe were consistent at that time. The Canadian researchers urge caution in interpreting the immediate clinical usefulness of large doses of melatonin and recommend patients discuss this with their physicians before beginning any treatments.

Dr. Dugald Seely, a cancer researcher at Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto and an author on the study, states, “This analysis shows a strong association. The small number of people needed to treat, low adverse events reported and low costs related to this intervention should be of substantial interest to patients, physicians and policy makers. Completion of independently conducted studies is required to confirm the efficacy and safety of melatonin in cancer treatment.”

Source:
Mills E, Wu P, Seely D, Guyatt G.
Melatonin in the treatment of cancer: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis. J Pineal Res. 2005 Nov;39(4):360-6.

November, 2005|Archive|

Strong association between infection with human papillomavirus and oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: A population-based case-control study in southern Sweden

  • 11/27/2005
  • Sweden
  • BG Hansson et al.
  • Acta Otolaryngol, December 1, 2005; 125(12): 1337-44

Conclusions:
The results of this study demonstrate a strong association between infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OOSCC), suggesting that high-risk HPV types play a key role in carcinogenesis. The estimated proportion of OOSCC cases attributable to HPV infection was 35%.

Objective:
HPV appears to have an aetiological role in OOSCC, despite the fact that the reported prevalences of HPV in both OOSCC patients and healthy individuals have varied widely. We aimed to investigate the presence and spectrum of both high- and low-risk HPVs in all consecutive cases of OOSCC in a Swedish healthcare region over a 3-year period and in population-based, matched healthy controls.

Material and methods:
A total of 131 patients with OOSCC were studied. Samples taken from the surface of the tumour and from the tonsillar fossa using cotton-tipped swabs were investigated, together with exfoliated cells collected using a mouthwash. Tonsillar fossa and mouthwash specimens were collected in the same way from 320 matched controls. All samples were tested for HPV DNA by nested polymerase chain reaction using the primer pairs MY09/MY11 and GP5 + /GP6+, and in positive cases the HPV type was determined by DNA sequencing.

Results:
Infection with high-risk HPV was shown to be a strong risk factor for OOSCC (OR = 63; 95% CI 14-480). Forty-seven (36%) of the cancer patients had >/=1 specimen that was positive for a high-risk HPV type (81% of which were HPV 16), while only 3 (0.94%) of the controls were positive for a high-risk HPV type. Seven (5.3%) of the cancer patients and 13 (4.1%) of the controls were positive for any of the mucosal, mucocutaneous or cutaneous low-risk HPV types.

Authors:
BG Hansson, K Rosenquist, A Antonsson, J Wennerberg, EB Schildt, A Bladstrom, and G Andersson

Authors’ affiliation:
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Section of Medical Microbiology, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

November, 2005|Archive|

Aussie cancer cure may be available soon

  • 11/26/2005
  • Australia
  • staff
  • The Age (theage.com.au)

An Australian-developed cancer drug that is dramatically improving survival rates could be available to the public within 12 months.

Tirapazamine had already cured humans suffering neck and head cancers, and could be used for lung, throat and cervical tumours, Fairfax newspapers reported.

Researchers say Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman’s former husband, Sandy Bodecker, had used the drug and made a full recovery from what was diagnosed as inoperable throat cancer.

Professor Lester Peters, a world leader in cancer research from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, is leading the drug’s trial.

He told Fairfax the drug could be “a cure, but not in everyone”.

“But a huge proportion of patients have had their tumours eradicated if they’ve been treated with this drug.”

Prof Peters said tirapazamine worked by targeting cancer cells that were starved of oxygen, which were typically resistant to conventional treatment and particularly malignant. The drug is used with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Fairfax said the second stage of the human trials, involving 550 patients around the world, was under way and should be finished by June.

If the final stage is successful, the drug can then be registered by the US Food and Drug Administration.

November, 2005|Archive|