- Cancer treatment specialist Kazia Therapeutics (KZA) is teaming up with the U.S. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) to treat a rare type of lymphoma
- Kazia's paxlisib drug will be tested against primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL), which is a specific type of cancer of the white blood cells
- The trial will recruit up to 25 patients who have relapsed or refractory PCNSL
- Recruitment for the trial is slated for early 2021, and it's expected to take two years to complete
- The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School
- Shares in Kazia rose in early action but have since settled and are currently trading grey, worth 94 cents each
Cancer treatment specialist Kazia Therapeutics (KZA) is teaming up with the U.S. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) to treat a rare type of lymphoma.
Dana-Farber will be launching a Phase II clinical trial to test Kazia's investigational new drug, paxalisib, in treating primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Essentially, lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells. This type of cancer can spread all over the body because it starts in the lymphatic system, which is responsible for transporting the blood cells around the body.
PCNSL, on the other hand, is a specific type of lymphoma the occurs in the brain and central nervous system. Recurrence is common with this type of cancer, and only 30 per cent of patients stay alive for five years after diagnosis.
Moreover, this type of cancer is far more difficult to treat than ordinary lymphoma. It all comes down to a barrier between the brain's blood vessels and brain tissue known as the blood-brain barrier.
This barrier is made to protect the brain against toxins and pathogens that could cause brain infection, but it also means the most effective treatments against ordinary lymphoma can't get through to the brain.
That is, of course, except for Kazia's paxalisib drug. The company said paxalisib is the only PI3KL inhibitor, which is the type of drug proven to be effective against lymphoma, which is able to get past this blood-brain barrier. This provides a unique rationale for testing the drug against PCNSL.
The Dana-Farber trial
The Massachusetts-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and is a world-renowned cancer treatment and research centre.
According to Kazia, the institute is involved in 600 clinical trials at any given time.
The paxalisib trial will test the drug in up to 25 patients with relapsed or refractory PCNSL who are resistant to other treatments. The trial is expected to take around two years to complete and recruitment will begin early next year.
Under the trial, the researchers will measure paxalisib's ability to shrink tumours, as well as the safety of the treatment.
Kazia CEO Dr James Garner said this is an exciting new opportunity for paxalisib.
"We are delighted to support the team at Dana-Farber to explore the potential for paxalisib to benefit patients with PCNSL," Dr James said.
"Dana-Farber is one of the world’s leading centres of excellence in this disease, so we are immensely fortunate to be working with them," he said.
Kazia said it will help fund the study by using some of the money from May's $1.8 million share purchase plan.
Kazia shares rose in early action but have since settled and are currently trading grey, worth 94 cents each at 12:39 pm AEST.