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  • Cancer drug developer Prescient Therapeutics (PTX) will proceed to the next trial phase of its novel therapy PTX-100
  • The drug is being developed to inhibit the Ras pathway, which helps cancer cells survive and increase
  • The drug has so far proved safe and non-toxic to the three enrolled patients, with one patient reporting relief of symptoms
  • The clinical response status of this patient is yet to be confirmed, so this anecdotal evidence of the drug’s efficacy must be taken with a grain of salt
  • The trial will now expand to 24 patients and include solid tumour cancers on top of the blood cancer patients already enrolled
  • Final results are a fair way off, but the first-in-class drug could be a game changer in the treatment of advanced cancers
  • Prescient Therapeutics is up 8.57 per cent with shares trading for 3.8 cents each

Cancer drug developer Prescient Therapeutics (PTX) will proceed to the next trial phase of its novel therapy PTX-100 after successfully completing the initial stage.

The trial

PTX-100 is the first drug of its kind. The therapy is designed to act as a Ras pathway inhibitor – a signalling pathway for a specific family of proteins which help cancer cells to survive and increase.

A number of cancers grow via the action of the Ras pathway, meaning PTX-100 could be a game changer in the treatment of a range of difficult-to-treat conditions if it proves effective as a Ras inhibitor.

The phase 1b study’s initial stage was aimed at determining the safety of the drug at a relatively low dose. Now it has been deemed safe, the next phase will attempt to pin down the optimal dose regimen and treatment schedule – simply put, how much of the drug can be taken, and how often.

The first cohort of three patients all reported no ill effects of the drug at low dosage, meaning the dose can be doubled in subsequent trials. One patient with cutaneous T cell lymphoma – a notoriously difficult cancer to treat – even reported substantial relief of symptoms.

The clinical response status of this patient is yet to be confirmed, so this anecdotal evidence of the drug’s efficacy must be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless, the patient has requested to continue the therapy, so it will be interesting to see what, if any, clinical response may be confirmed.

The trial has been conducted under the guidance of renowned haematologist and blood cancer specialist Professor H. Miles Prince at the Epworth Hospital.

Moving forward

Prescient has now expanded the study to include solid tumour cancers – giving the scope of the drug’s potential effectiveness a larger footprint. Professor Vinod Ganju will lead this part of the trial at Peninsula and Southeast Oncology in Victoria.

The trial aims to enrol up to 24 patients in a so-called “basket” study, where patients with a range of differing conditions are tested to see which conditions best respond to the drug. This technique has been pioneered in the US, and has led to the approval fast-tracking of several drug therapies.

The drug will be administered at higher doses in chemotherapy-style fortnightly cycles to optimise the dose and dose frequency administered to patients.

Final results are still a fair way off, but given early signs of PTX-100’s efficacy in disrupting the Ras pathway, and the demonstrated safety of the treatment so far, it seems Prescient could be developing an entirely new way to fight advanced and hard to treat cancers.

Prescient Therapeutics is up 8.57 per cent with shares trading for 3.8 cents each as at 1:47 pm AEST.

PTX by the numbers
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