The investigational anti- cancer drug, phenoxodiol, considerably enhances the ability of the drug, docetaxel (Taxotere(R), Sanofi-Aventis), to kill human ovarian cancer cells in the laboratory. The findings are reported in the current issue of Oncology Research.
Phenoxodiol is being developed as a chemo-sensitizer for standard chemotherapy agents such as taxanes and platinums in ovarian cancer, and has been granted fast-track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based in part on tumor measurements from radiographic examinations of women with recurrent ovarian cancer who are participating in an ongoing multi-center phase Ib/IIa study.
Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine used cancer cell lines established from patients who had failed to respond to standard anti-cancer drugs. In the laboratory, these cells are highly resistant to anti-cancer drugs, including docetaxel. Phenoxodiol was able to restore sensitivity to docetaxel in these resistant cells.
The researchers also found that the synergistic effect of phenoxodiol was so great that, when added to the treatment mix, phenoxodiol allowed 1/100th of the amount of docetaxel to be used as effectively as docetaxel alone on cells previously found to be resistant to docetaxel.
"These findings offer two potential clinical outcomes. Either, phenoxodiol could be used to considerably increase the response rate of patients to docetaxel after they have become unresponsive to other standard chemotherapies, or, phenoxodiol could lead to a dramatically reduced amount of chemotherapy needed to achieve a clinical response, which means that patients would be less likely to experience the harmful side effects of chemotherapy," said Gil Mor, M.D., Ph. D., associate professor, department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, Yale University School of Medicine.
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