News

Chemotherapy made from caterpillar fungus shows early promise in clinical trials

Chemotherapy made from  caterpillar fungus  shows early promise in clinical trials
Top Stories
CANMORE, ALTA. -- An experimental cancer drug made from a molecule found in a Himalayan fungus known as caterpillar fungus has shown early promise as a new treatment for patients with advanced tumours in a small clinical trial.

The new chemotherapy variety, known as NUC-7738 by researchers at the University of Oxford, is made from cordycepin, first found in a parasitic fungus species called Ophiocordyceps sinensis.

Commonly known as caterpillar fungus, thanks to its ability to kill and mummify moth larva in the wild, the active ingredient has been used as a herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Now, researchers at the University of Oxford, in partnership with U.K.-based biopharmaceutical company NuCana, are testing the proposed anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of the compound in a small phase one trial involving 28 patients with advanced tumours that were resistant to conventional cancer treatment.

Cordycepin, referred as 3 -deoxyadenosine (or 3 -dA), is a naturally occurring nucleoside analogue. These analogues can be used in therapeutic drugs, including antiviral products used to prevent viral replication in infected cells.

Because the naturally occurring form of cordycepin breaks down quickly in the bloodstream, researchers altered the compound to make it resistant to this process, allowing it to enter cells independently.

The latest research shows that these changes make the proposed drugs anti-cancer properties up to 40 times more potent than cordycepin alone.

According to trial findings published in early September, the patient cohort showed encouraging signals of anti-tumour activity and prolonged disease stabilization" when given weekly escalating doses of NUC-7738.

"These findings provide proof of concept that NUC-7738 overcomes the cancer resistance mechanisms that limit the activity of 3 -dA and support the further clinical evaluation of NUC-7738 as a novel cancer treatment,
Read more on CTVnews
News Topics :
RELATED STORIES :
Science
Launching a dual pronged attack on tumours using a combination of two innovative precision medicines could treat patients with multiple common cancers, a new clinical trial shows. advertisement It is the...
Science
The prognosis of ovarian cancer is poor, with an estimated five year survival of only 40 for advanced disease, the stage at which most ovarian carcinomas are diagnosed. These poor outcomes...
Science
Dr Bock, under the mentorship of Distinguished Professor Dietmar Hutmacher, from QUT Centre for Biomedical Technologies, has focused her research on bone metastases from breast and prostate cancers. advertisement She...
Science
ETC 159, a made in Singapore anti cancer drug that is currently in early phase clinical trials for use in a subset of colorectal and gynaecological cancers, could also prevent some tumours from resisting...
Science
A combination cancer therapy that is effective against treatment resistant hepatocellular carcinoma HCC by inhibiting tumor growth and increasing survival has been identified by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital MGH . In...