By Sarah Faulkner
NovoCure (NSDQ:NVCR) announced yesterday that its ‘tumor treating fields, combined with the drug paclitaxel, are effective against ovarian cancer, the 5th most-common cause of cancer death in women in the US.
The St. Helier, N.J.-based company won FDA approval in July for the Optune device to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
TTFields are low intensity, alternating electric fields designed to disrupt the division process in cancerous cells. The device is portable, designed for continuous, home use.
The company’s preclinical research into ovarian cancer, published in the International Journal of Cancer, showed positive results in vitro and in vivo. The study examined the effects of TTFields and paclitaxel, a drug used to treat ovarian, lung, pancreatic, and other cancers. Paclitaxel is also used with some drug-eluting stents to inhibit restenosis.
In both in vivo and in vitro studies, combining TTFields and paclitaxel significantly reduced the cancer cell count, more than either therapy alone. Results from a simulation testing the distribution of the electric fields into the abdomen showed that the device could successfully distribute electric fields to the proper depth in order to reach the ovaries.
“Treatment with TTFields is broadly applicable and has shown a consistent anti-mitotic effect in our preclinical and clinical research over the last 16 years,” chief science officer Eilon Kirson said in prepared remarks. “Novocure is committed to increasing the understanding of the mechanisms of action and potential clinical utility of TTFields in multiple solid tumors through the presentation and peer-reviewed publication of high quality data.”
In light of the preclinical results, Novocure kicked off an open-label, Phase II pilot study of TTFields in combination with paclitaxel to treat recurrent ovarian cancer. The Innovate trial is fully enrolled and Novocure expects to share preliminary results in December of 2016.