The drug, Asentar (DN-101), is based on vitamin D and is given to patients in the advanced stages of prostate cancer along with chemotherapy drugs. Drug makers came up with the idea because vitamin D from sunlight improves the prognosis of certain cancers. But taking natural levels of the vitamin has no effect. Novacea, the company that makes Asentar, produced a novel formulation that reproduces the healing effect without the dangerous side-effects of a vitamin D overdose. If the on-going phase III trial goes to plan, the new drug should be available in 2009, reports Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.
‘If the results of the phase III trial are as good as those of the phase II trial, that would be significant,’ says Nick James, professor of oncology at the University of Birmingham. In the phase II trials, Asentar significantly improved survival rates, 9 months over patients taking chemotherapy drugs (taxotere) alone. ‘On average, patients in the advanced stage of the disease survive about 18 months, so an extension of 9 months would be very significant in my view,’ says James.
Asentar provides levels of vitamin D 50-100 times higher than normal. Patients would be expected to take one tablet once a week with their weekly regime of taxotere for three weeks out of every four.
Business analysts say Asentar is a potential blockbuster, because prostate cancer rates are expected to soar in the next few years. But James is not so sure. ‘A confounding factor is that if you go looking for more cases of cancer, you will find them. But this does not give you an accurate estimate of how many people will go on to develop advanced disease. In fact death rates are going down, which means that the market for this drug is probably pretty static.’
James also points out that it is far from certain that the Phase III trials will repeat the success of early trials. ‘The phase II trial used a less than optimal taxotere regime so the survival rate may have been artificially inflated,’ he says. He points out, however, that it may be that the Asentar will eventually prove applicable in the earlier stages of the disease.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Prostate cancer kills one man every hour in the UK.
Lisa Richards | alfa
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering