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University of Newcastle medical building. Source: Whiteley Corporation
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  • Race Oncology (RAC) has entered a preclinical research program with the University of Newcastle to explore the use of Bisantrene to treat melanoma
  • Bisantrene is a strong inhibitor of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) protein which can lead to a range of cancers if it’s over-expressed
  • Race and the U of N will research which drug combinations can improve the treatment of melanoma and other cancers
  • The preclinical research program will be led by two renowned melanoma cancer researchers and will support phase two human trials
  • Race’s shares have dropped 3 per cent to trade at $3.88

Race Oncology (RAC) has entered a preclinical research program with the University of Newcastle.

The program will explore the use of Bisantrene as a novel treatment for melanoma. The pair will collaborate using cellular and mouse models to identify which drug combinations can improve melanoma treatment.

Bisantrene is an inhibitor of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) protein which, when it’s over-expressed, can lead to a range of cancers.

Previous studies have shown that FTO is over-produced in about 50 per cent of metastatic melanoma cancers and the inhibition of the protein can overcome PD-1 immune checkpoint resistance. This resistance is what promotes the growth of tumours.

While there have been significant improvements in treating melanoma over the last few decades, the five-year survival rate for the advanced stage is still just 25 per cent.

“Recently, scientific developments have identified Bisantrene as a potent targeted agent of FTO which offers the possibility of novel treatment options for patients with drug resistance melanomas that can rapidly be translated into the clinic,” Chief Scientific Officer Dr Daniel Tillett said.

The preclinical research program will be led by renowned melanoma cancer researchers, Professor Xu Dong Zhang and Associate Professor Lei Jin. It will start immediately with results expectedover the next 12 months.

The results of the upcoming study will support phase two human trials of Bisantrene in melanoma. The phase two study is expected to begin in Australia early next year.

Race’s shares have dropped 3 per cent to trade at $3.88 at 10:32 am AEDT.

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