In CALGARY, Oncolytics Biotech Inc. has announced a potentially new combination treatment for cancer patients suffering from advanced cancers that have shown little to no response to other forms of therapy. By combining their product REOLYSIN with docetaxel, the company has shown positive results for the initial fourteen patients’ cancers in the first round of clinical trials. In the study, the patient with mesothelioma showed a 23 percent reduction in the lymph nodes. Other difficult to treat forms of cancer such as gastric and prostate also had improvements when treated with the drug combination. As a Phase I study, the primary goal was not to determine if REOLYSIN and docetaxel was an effective combination. Instead, the study looked to find the safety, maximum tolerated level (MTL), and the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) of the combination.
Only as a secondary consideration were the patients’ immune responses, any anti-tumor activity, and the body’s response to the drug combination when compared to chemotherapy. Further studies on the combination will continue as the series of clinical trials required before approval continue. In LONDON, Onyx Pharmaceuticals has been granted the sole rights to produce and market BTG’s patented BGC 945 as an anticancer drug. BGC 945 attacks tumor cells with minimal damage to healthy cells. It acts against the cancer by inhibiting a compound involved in the cell growth and division, thymidylate synthase (TS). It has shown promise in treating the tumors associated with ovarian, lung, endometrial cancers, and mesothelioma. In exchange for giving the commercialization rights to Onyx Pharmaceuticals, BTG will receive an up-front payment of $13 million. Future payments include royalties from worldwide sales, up to $72 million for developmental milestones reached by Onyx, and up to $235 million for drug approval and other commercial milestones.