- A breakthrough discovery by the Weill Cornell Medical College has validated Noxopharm's (NOX) DARRT cancer treatment program
- Weill Cornell has been researching the elusive phenomenon that is the abscopal response, which is when radiation not only shrinks the targeted tumour, but also shrinks other tumours in the body as well
- The group discovered that the abscopal response depends on blocking the autophagy process for it to be triggered
- This process is one of the recognised anti-cancer mechanisms used by the main active ingredient in Noxopharm's Veyonda drug
- It seems that Veyonda and the DARRT treatment program may be in the 'box seat' to make abscopal responses less of a phenomenon and more common
- Noxopharm will now test Veyonda's ability to induce abscopal effects in a phase two study beginning early next year
- Company shares are up 5.31 per cent to trade for 59.5 cents
Noxopharm (NOX) says a recent discovery by a U.S. university group has validated its DARRT cancer treatment program.
The discovery relates to how Veyonda, a clinical-stage drug candidate, combines with radiotherapy to produce a whole-of-body anti-cancer response known as an 'abscopal response' in patients with metastatic cancer.
An abscopal response occurs when radiation not only shrinks the targeted tumour, but also leads to other tumours in the body to 'melt' away. A complete abscopal response is regarded as the ultimate form of treatment for metastatic cancer, and patients with a complete abscopal response generally remain in remission for life.
"For the overwhelming majority of patients, once a cancer spreads from its point of origin and becomes metastatic, the best that current treatments offer is to delay the inevitable," CEO and Managing Director Graham Kelly said.
"Which is why the concept of using a short course of radiotherapy, free of
all the downsides of chemotherapy, to trigger an immune response that in a matter of weeks causes most or all other tumours to disappear, appears such an unrealistic dream," he added.
Up until recently, the abscopal response has been a rare and elusive phenomenon that isn't completely understood. However, a study conducted by the Weill Cornell Medical College has shed light on a potential path to make the phenomenon more common.
It seems that Veyonda and the DARRT treatment program may be in the 'box seat' to make abscopal responses commonplace and potentially put Noxopharm in the spotlight.
The Weill Cornell group's breakthrough discovery is that in order for radiotherapy to trigger an abscopal response, it needs to be dependent on blocking a type of cell repair process known as autophagy.
Noxopharm's relevance to this breakthrough is that the blocking the autophagy is one of the recognised anti-cancer mechanisms used by idronoxil — the active ingredient in Veyonda.
The first two patients ever treated with DARRT treatment delivered notable abscopal responses — one complete and one partial response.
In the DARRT phase 1b study treating men with late-stage prostate cancer, the company observed abscopal responses in a significant number of men. This marked the first time these responses were reported in prostate cancer in more than extremely isolated cases.
More notably, the encouraging outcome in DARRT-1 was achieved using what Noxopharm now regards as a sub-optimal course of Veyonda treatment.
"The Weill Cornell discovery, combined with what we learnt from the DARRT-1 study about Veyonda dosing, means we go into the upcoming DARRT-2 study
with a high degree of confidence that we are on the edge of a major breakthrough in cancer therapy," he said.
Noxopharm will now test Veyonda's ability to induce abscopal effects in a phase two study which will involve 200 patients. The study is expected to begin early next year to further test the DARRT treatment program in late-stage cancers.
Company shares are up 5.31 per cent to trade for 59.5 cents at 12:17 pm AEDT.