Cancer patients in a Melbourne-based trial of a new drug experienced positive outcomes and even recovery, a study published today revealed. The Australian division of the research was conducted at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre using ‘Venetoclax,’ a drug designed to kill a protein called BCL-2 which promotes cancer cell survival. The four year clinical trial on 116 patients in Melbourne and the United States saw the reduction of blood cancer cells, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Seventy-nine percent of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia experienced positive responses to the tablets, while a small group who had previously underwent failed treatments were left completely clear of the disease after joining the trial.
The historic research marks the first human trial of the medicine which was developed after thirty years of research. Royal Melbourne Hospital haematologist and Walter and Eliza Hall institute researcher, Professor Andrew Roberts, told the Herald Sun that the drug selectively targets the interaction responsible for keeping leukaemia cells alive. “In many cases we’ve seen the cancerous cells simply melt away,” Professor Roberts said. “This is a very exciting result for people who often had no other treatment options available.” ( Source: 9news.com.au )