The National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health said last month that it plans to fund up to five projects involving novel methods to locally deliver chemopreventative drugs.
The two organizations pointed out that new technologies have enabled healthcare practitioners to detect cancer earlier in humans, but the ability to treat these high-risk patients is still limited due to the toxic side effects of chemopreventative agents.
Previous work has demonstrated that people with a high risk of developing cancer would benefit from the long-term administration of chemopreventative agents. And a small number of these drugs have seen success in the clinic – like tamoxifen and raloxifene for the prevention of breast cancer, according to the NCI.
“However, the systemic toxicities of these agents have limited their widespread use and acceptability,” the organization wrote.
“A localized chemoprevention approach is ideal in high risk individuals or individuals with premalignant diseases, as the agent can be applied locally to provide high drug concentrations at specific locations from where early disease would originate, while limiting systemic toxicity.”
The organization said it is looking for technologies that are designed for the effective delivery of a drug to a specific organ and that acceptable toxicities will vary depending on the agent and patient population.
The NCI noted that for novel chemoprevention agents, the proposal must prove that the drug significantly reduces cancer incidence in a suitable animal model. They also said that it would not fund a project that’s beyond a Phase II clinical trial.