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  • Race Oncology has announced big plans to develop its leukemia treatment drug, Bisantrene
  • Bisantrene was studied as a cancer treatment drug in the 80s and 90s but was dropped by big pharma soon after
  • Race has picked the treatment back up and believes it has found some unique applications in leukemia and in clearing residual cancer left behind after chemo
  • The company plans to expand the treatment into the breast and ovarian cancer in the near future
  • Shares in Race are up nearly eight per cent today and trading for 14 cents each

Race Oncology is making big strides back to the future as it develops its Bisantrene cancer treatment.

Bisantrene was studied in over 40 clinical trials throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but the drug was abandoned by big pharma soon thereafter.

Race, however, believes there remains some untapped potential in this treatment, particularly in for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is a type of cancer that affects blood and bone marrow.

The company told the market today it has plans to start introducing Bisantrene to treat other types of cancers — namely breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

The new strategy comes after research found Bisantrene could play a unique role in clearing away residual cancer often left after chemotherapy which is known as a measurable residual disease (MRD). According to Race Chief Scientific Officer Dr Daniel Tillett, this residual cancer often leaves patients with a bleak survival outlook.

This new Bisantrene research comes hand-in-hand with some deeper understanding of AML across the medical world.

“Recent changes in the medical understanding of AML has opened up an exciting opportunity to use Bisantrene earlier in AML treatment to improve patient outcomes,” Dr Daniel said.

He added that the company’s U.S. research partners have found the effects of Bisantrene could be enhanced when used with other FDA (Food and Drug Administration)-approved cancer drugs.

“The synergy between Bisantrene and other anti-cancer agents has been suggested by the historical data, but never confirmed using current research methodology, until now,” he said.

In light of this, Race CEO Peter Malloy said combining Bisantrene with other treatments could make clinical support and crucial licences easier to gain.

Moving forward, Race plans to take on a combination clinical trial in Australia for adult AML, and a registration trial in the U.S. for paediatric AML.

This will be accompanied by a proof-of-concept trial for Bisantrene in combination with current breast and ovarian cancer treatments.

“Over the next months and years, we plan to see that value demonstrated in clinical trials and valuable partnerships,” Peter said.

The market has taken nicely to Race’s new strategy, with shares in the oncology company up nearly eight per cent at 1:01 pm AEDT and trading for 14 cents each.

RAC by the numbers
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