Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) - MD and CEO Phillip Lynch
MD and CEO Phillip Lynch
Source: Race Oncology
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  • Race Oncology (RAC) confirms Zantrene can protect heart muscle cells from carfilzomib-induced cell death while improving the carfilzomib-mediated killing of cancer cells
  • Associate Professor Doan Ngo says Zantrene showed it can salvage over 30 per cent of carfilzomib-induced human heart cell from death, which is “genuinely remarkable”
  • This expanded protection discovery follows Race confirming Zantrene is able to protect anthracycline-induced heart damage while improving the killing of breast cancer cells
  • What this means for Race is Zantrene may be able to protect patients’ hearts from a range of cardiac-damaging drugs and opens up new opportunities
  • RAC shares are trading 5.11 per cent in the green, sitting at $3.29 at 10:34 am AEDT

Race Oncology (RAC) has released further interim results from the Zantrene preclinical heart safety research program.

The preclinical program was conducted at the University of Newcastle and was led by cardiotoxicity researchers and associate professors Aaron Sverdlov and Doan Ngo, in collaboration with cancer scientist, Associate Professor Nikki Verrills.

Zantrene is a cancer therapy drug that Race is exploring the use of for different cancers. At the end of last month, the company discovered it can potentially protect anthracycline-induced heart damage while improving the killing of breast cancer cells.

The latest research has shown that Zantrene can also protect cells in the heart muscle from carfilzomib-induced cell death while improving the carfilzomib-mediated killing of cancer cells.

Carfilzomib is used to treat multiple myeloma in patients with relapsed or refractory disease after at least one previous therapy. While the drug has been reported to be effective in treating multiple myeloma, it comes with a large risk of permanent heart damage.

For example, an analysis of phase two carfilzomib studies found of the 526 patients treated, 22 per cent developed cardiac side effects, 13.3 per cent showed arrhythmia, 7.2 per cent exhibited heart failure, two per cent developed treatment-associated cardiomyopathy, and three per cent suffered from ischemic heart disease.

The additional discovery suggests that Zantrene may be able to protect patients’ hearts from a range of unrelated cardiac-damaging drugs. It also opens up new collaboration potential and licensing opportunities for Zantrene.

Associate Professor Doan Ngo discussed the “remarkable” results.

“Zantrene was shown to salvage over 30 per cent of carfilzomib-induced human heart cell from death,” he said.

“These results are genuinely remarkable, as with other clinically used cardioprotective drugs, we only observe a 10-15 per cent protection from heart cell damage.

“Zantrene is the first anti-cancer agent that we have found to exhibit a cardioprotective profile while being synergistically effective as an anti-cancer treatment. These results give hope to the millions of patients living with cancer that once they survive cancer, they may not have to live with heart disease.”

The next steps include additional preclinical studies to investigate whether Zantrene can protect heart damage caused by other chemotherapeutic drugs, as well as studies on the molecular mechanism of Zantrene’s cardioprotective activity to discover any further protective functions of the therapy.

RAC shares are trading 5.11 per cent in the green, sitting at $3.29 at 10:34 am AEDT.

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