Mesothelioma patients may be closer than ever before to receiving a new drug aimed at treating and preventing the deadly cancer. Drug researchers from China and the United States are working together on the KDR/Kit Inhibitor, which will work to end the new growth of cancerous cells in patients.
The two companies, China-based Simcere Pharmaceutical Group and OSI Pharmaceuticals in the U.S., are basing the project in China. OSI specializes in the discovery and development of innovative molecular targeted therapies. The drug, called OSI-930 for now, has shown positive results in treating small and non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal, gastric and other cancers. Its effectiveness in treating these cancers has the teams working on its treatment of mesothelioma as well.
Mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, is caused by asbestos. Heavily used until 1980 for construction, ship building, sheet metal working, and other industrial careers, asbestos has since been found to be a dangerous mineral material, and has caused the deaths of thousands each year. The material was used to make materials heat and flame-resistant, as well as more strong and durable. When these materials begin to break down, asbestos fibers are released into the air, where they can be easily breathed in.
Once inside the body, asbestos fibers attach themselves to the mesothelium, a membrane lining the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs. The fibers cannot be expelled, rather they stay inside the body and accumulate over time. Asbestos fibers interfere with cell development and actions, leading to mesothelioma decades after exposure.
“OSI-930 has potential to help cancer patients, and we are delighted to cooperate with OSI Pharmaceuticals to promote this treatment in China,” commented Mr. Jinsheng Ren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Simcere Pharmaceutical Group.
If the drug is found to cure or prevent mesothelioma, it could give a new outlook to the nearly 3,000 new patients each year suffering from the deadly cancer.