Feb 18, 2012

New Phase III Clinical Trials February 2012

     This month's search revealed 29 new phase III clinical trials registered in the last 30 days.  We are consistently seeing around 1 phase III trial being added to the national registry per day.  
     We would like to highlight two interesting studies that are brand new.  The COMET-2 study compares cabozantinib (XL184) with mitoxantrone in the treatment of men with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer who have already received standard chemotherapy.  The main focus of the study is relief of cancer-related pain, although both drugs are designed to fight cancer.  This does not mean that the treatment may not also provide other important benefits including control of cancer and perhaps extension of life.  Instead it illustrates that quality of life is increasingly considered in cancer clinical trials.
     The second remarkable feature of this trial is that XL184 is a modern targeted drug and it is taking on a traditional chemotherapy drug head to head.  This is illustrative of the overall trend in the field, where newer drugs that seek to exploit specific proteins in cancer and are more precise than traditional chemotherapy are increasingly prominent.  
     The second study we find fascinating is the BALANCE study which uses a fluorescent dye to guide surgery for brain tumors.  The procedure involves taking a natural compound by mouth 3 hours before surgery.  The compound is taken up by glioma (brain tumor) cells and causes the tumor to glow with a red hue under a special blue light.  Studies from Europe suggest that the chances of a complete resection may be considerably better with the use of this agent than with a conventional surgical approach. 

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(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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