“Cancer” encompasses approximately 200 distinct disease types, and finding a single cure for all of them is unlikely. Each type of cancer requires a unique treatment approach, so there isn’t one universal cure. However, a recent study by Race Oncology (ASX: RAC) suggests a glimmer of hope, as its lead drug bisantrene has demonstrated strong anti-cancer effects when trialled against 143 different human cancer cell lines, covering 15 different cancer types in preclinical research.
The work was performed under contract at Netherlands-based Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Oncolines. During the studies, bisantrene was tested for its cancer-fighting abilities both on its own and when combined with doxorubicin, a commonly used cancer treatment drug.
Executive Director Dr Pete Smith commented, “The strength of bisantrene’s performance with doxorubicin, a standard of care chemotherapy drug, is particularly exciting as it informs our clinical development plans and bolsters confidence that combining other cancer drugs with bisantrene will produce positive results for patients. We look forward to formally releasing this comprehensive set of cell screening data in upcoming peer-reviewed publications.”
In this recent preclinical study, bisantrene showed strong effectiveness against 113 out of 143 tumour cell lines, covering a wide range of common cancers. When combined with doxorubicin at clinically relevant levels, 86% of tumour cells showed increased cell-killing activity compared to using doxorubicin alone. This indicates that combining bisantrene with doxorubicin could offer extra benefits in cancer patients receiving doxorubicin-based treatments, supporting bisantrene’s clinical use where doxorubicin is recommended.
RAC previously reported that bisantrene enhances the cell-killing effects of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide in breast cancer cells and protects mouse hearts from anthracycline-induced damage. In other historical clinical trials, bisantrene’s usage as a single agent has demonstrated anti-cancer activity in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), other leukaemias and ovarian cancer.
Moving forward, RAC plans to refine drug dosages and combinations in more preclinical studies to identify optimal clinical treatment options for bisantrene. Further research will be conducted to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind the enhanced cancer cell killing when using doxorubicin and other drugs together. The completed data package will be published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. Additionally, discussions with key opinion leaders will explore clinical trials combining bisantrene with doxorubicin to enhance outcomes for cancer patients.
Race Oncology is a clinical stage biotechnology company specialising in cancer care. Their primary asset, bisantrene, is a small anthracene-based chemotherapy drug with demonstrated safety in both adults and children with less tendency to cause heart-related side effects compared to similar drugs.
Race is researching bisantrene’s impact on the mA RNA pathway, following independent research by California-based cancer research centre City of Hope, which has identified bisantrene as a powerful blocker of FTO (Fat mass and obesity-associated protein), a protein linked to cancer. Dysregulation of this pathway has been linked to various types of cancer in peer-reviewed studies. Race is actively seeking collaborations and opportunities to broaden bisantrene’s availability to cancer patients worldwide.
In the full year ending 30 June 2023, RAC recorded $591 million revenue, a 997% increase from $53 million obtained in the previous year. This contributed to 11% improvement in Net Loss After Tax (NLAT), from $11m in FY22 to $9.9m in FY23. The Company concluded FY23 with $21.5m cash at bank.
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