Anti-Angiogenesis Drug Nears Clinical Development
It’s not easy being a constantly growing cancer. For one thing, you need a lot of food, and your host body doesn’t just hand it to you on a platter; you have to work for it. Think of any invading army, and the infrastructure needed to keep it going. Similarly, prostate cancer, on its lethal push toward metastasis, requires an ever-increasing blood supply, which serves as a highway for the supply trucks (in this case, nutrients and oxygen). The process of paving this road, making new blood vessels inside a cancer, is called tumor angiogenesis.
It’s not easy being a constantly
growing cancer. For one thing, you
need a lot of food, and your host
body doesn’t just hand it to you on
a platter; you have to work for it.
Over the last two decades, scientist John Isaacs, Ph.D., has made it his mission to stop this process — looking, in effect, for anything that might become an effective roadblock, and make it harder for the food supply to reach prostate cancer. He has found several in the form of “small molecule inhibitors.” In collaboration with Active Biotech AB, his research group has identified a particularly promising, angiogenesisinhibiting substance called tasquinimod. Based on his pre-clinical studies, tasquinomod has completed a randomized, placebocontrolled, double-blind Phase II trial, and moved a step closer to being available to patients everywhere. In this trial, 206 men in the U.S., Canada, and Sweden, with metastatic, hormone-resistant cancer (but no symptoms, such as pain), were given either 1 mg daily of oral tasquinimod, or a placebo. In the placebo group, 66 of the men had progression of their cancer, compared to only 31 percent of the men on tasquinimod.
“The drug not only inhibited progression, but delayed it,” says Isaacs. “Based upon these results, tasquinimod will shortly enter Phase IIII FDA registration trials.”