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
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences