NEW OVARIAN CANCER DRUG RAISES HOPE
promising new treatments are emerging to treat ovarian cancer, one of the most deadly and difficult to treat diseases.
An experimental drug Tesaro, a small biotechnology company based in Waltham, Massachusetts The company on Wednesday launched exciting clinical trial data For an experimental drug that is designed to prevent cancer cells to repair themselves after they have been hit by the chemotherapy.
Patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who took the drug got as much as an additional 15 months without growth in their tumors, compared with a control group, according to the company. The data has not yet been reviewed or analyzed by federal regulators, but the press release of the company in the results sent share prices soaring.
The capture? Even with new drugs, mortality from ovarian cancer is likely to remain high.
One reason: Geography.
Patients who are not treated in good traffic oncology centers tend to receive sub-optimal treatment for this cancer of confusion, researchers are showing. They don't always get therapies that could give them many more months of life. And as medication regimens become more nuanced and complex, requiring genetic sequencing of tumors, this treatment gap is at risk of growing up.
"It will get worse," said Dr. Leslie Randall, associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. "As we come out with newer treatments that are more complex to deliver, the disparity will only get worse."
A 2015 study that examined the treatment of ovarian cancer and survival between 1996 and 2006 found that patients treated at centers certified comprehensive care by the National Cancer Institute survival rates were almost twice another study women.Another UC Irvine found that black women received poor care and had lower survival rates than their peers.
"Part of the disparity is that if patients do not live in an area with a specialized cancer center, which are not receiving the standard forefront of care," said Dr. Thomas Morrissey, a gynecologic oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
With a five-year, $ 1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at the University of California Irvine are now deepen the treatment of ovarian cancer disparities by race and socioeconomic status. They hope to develop better guidelines nationwide attention.
A silent murderer
patients with ovarian cancer have long had limited treatment options. In fact, the treatment paradigm has not changed much in two decades: First comes the surgery to remove tumors, followed by chemotherapy.
Because the early symptoms are fairly benign - swelling and pain - about 75 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not learn they have until it has progressed to the stage 3. About 22,000 new cases they are diagnosed each year, and about 15,000 women die of the disease each year in the United States.
"It is difficult to diagnose people with ovarian cancer, because it is very rare. No selection, no Pap smear, mammogram without being easily deduce that you have ovarian cancer," said Dr. Rebecca Liu, a gynecologist oncologist at the University of Michigan Health System.
Many oncologists were very disappointed this spring when a major trial of a promising new way to deliver chemotherapy has not demonstrated benefits.
But the growing field of pharmacogenomics - the study of how a person's genes affect their response to a specific drug - offers new hope, said Dr. Lee Shulman, chief of obstetrics and clinical genetics program at the School of gynecology of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg.
A new class of drugs intriguing
Tesaro drugs called niraparib, belongs to a new class of drugs called intriguing PARP inhibitors that work by stopping cancer cells from repairing damage caused by chemotherapy. A patient genomic analysis can show whether drugs are likely to help.
Another PARP inhibitor, called olaparib, marketed by AstraZeneca as Lynparza, and is being used for certain types of ovarian cancer.
Beyond PARP inhibitors, researchers are looking at a number of mechanisms of treatment.
monoclonal antibodies such as Avastin Genentech used with promise in the treatment of ovarian cancer. They stick to cancer cells and interfering with their growth. Scientists and doctors also see the promise of therapies designed to stimulate the immune system and send it in attack mode against tumors.
"The field of immuno-oncology is huge for melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer - and ovarian cancer, you just Start," Randall said.
Although Tesaro drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the company's stock soared 108 percent Wednesday, closing at $ 77.64, on word of the test results. The international study included more than 500 women with recurrent ovarian cancer and the drug was found "significantly longer" the amount of time before tumors began to grow again, requiring another round of chemotherapy, although not analyzed if patients live longer on the drug.
Women with and without genetic mutations that increase the risk of ovarian cancer drug benefit, the company said. The most common side effects were a deficiency of platelets that can slow blood clotting and anemia.
"We were bullish before the data, I would say, and I characterize myself as even more optimistic now that we've seen," said Chris Raymond, an analyst and manager of Raymond James Financial Director. "This is the best by almost any measure."