Galway cancer trial opens


A CLINICAL trial of a novel anti-cancer agent, which has just opened in Galway and is the first of its kind in Ireland, may offer new hope to leukaemia patients worldwide.

The first stage of testing in human subjects (Phase 1) clinical trial of the drug named NMS-116354 will target blood cancer patients whose disease is no longer responsive to standard treatments.

Consultant haematologist and professor of haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’Dwyer, who is leading the trial, said he was excited by the potential of the drug, which had shown very promising preliminary results.

This is the first Phase 1 clinical trial to take place at the newly established Health Research Board clinical research facility at NUI Galway under Prof Frank Giles, whose aim is to provide Irish patients with access to the newest and most promising anti-cancer drugs at an early stage of development.

Prof O’Dwyer said: “We are very excited about the potential for this new anti-cancer agent as a new advance in the treatment of leukaemia. It’s a real success story for Galway and Ireland. It’s already in Phase 1 clinical trial in solid tumours in France and the US, but this particular trial is the first worldwide in blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.”

The study opened in Galway last week and Prof O’Dwyer is optimistic the first patient will be started on the trial within the next week or so.

The drug, which was developed by Italian pharmaceutical company, Nerviano Medical Sciences, has been found to be effective against a broad variety of cancer types, including cells that lack the P53 protein, a common form of cancer drug resistance and usually associated with a very poor prognosis. It acts by inhibiting the protein enzyme CDC7, causing cancer cells to die.

The man who led the programme to develop the drug at Nerviano, Corrado Santo Camale, is now professor of molecular medicine at the National Centre for Bioengineering Science at NUIG.

For further information, contact Prof Michael O’Dwyer or Veronica McInerney, clinical nurse manager at the Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway, tel: 091-495964