An early clinical trial conducted by UK researchers has demonstrated positive profile for the use of vistusertib and paclitaxel combination to treat ovarian and lung cancers.
The research team involved the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, along with nine clinical centres across the country.
During the phase I trial, the drug with chemotherapy was able to shrink tumours of both cancer types.
In addition, the combination stopped the cancer growing for an average of 5.8 months, which is considered beneficial in advanced patients who are resistant to standard therapy.
The trial evaluated the vistusertib and paclitaxel combination in 25 women suffering from high-grade, serous ovarian cancer and 40 squamous non-small cell lung cancer patients.
At least 30% decrease in the tumour size was observed in 52% ovarian cancer patients and 35% of the subjects with lung cancer.
The initial part of this early trial investigated the safety of the drug combination, which was well-tolerated with manageable side-effects.
ICR Drug Development Unit deputy director Udai Banerji said: “We combined chemotherapy with a targeted drug which blocks the way cancer cells react to treatment in order to survive.
“Over half the women with ovarian cancer and over a third of lung cancer patients saw their tumours shrink – and these are patients who have exhausted all other options.”
Vistusertib is designed to target the mTOR1 and 2 proteins that ‘turn on’ p-S6K, which is high in chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancers.
The conjunction of vistusertib with paclitaxel chemotherapy prevents the cancer cells from using p-S6K for growth and resistance to chemotherapy.
Currently, the combination is being assessed in a phase II trial in a total of 140 women with relapsed ovarian cancer across the UK.