Researchers from the UCL Cancer Institute and BTG (LON:BTG) have started the first clinical trial of microscopic beads loaded with a targeted, cancer-fighting drug for patients with primary liver cancer or metastatic colorectal cancer.
The trial is designed to evaluate the experimental therapy’s ability to deliver a precise amount of vandetanib directly to the arteries feeding a liver tumor using a radiopaque bead which can be seen on CT scans.
“The incidence and mortality rates for primary liver cancer continue to climb and it is vital that we explore new treatment approaches,” primary investigator Ricky Sharma said in prepared remarks.
“This research is exciting because it is the first time we have been able to pre-load a targeted cancer drug on to an imageable bead, to deliver the targeted drug in high doses to the cancer and see exactly how well the beads reach the target we have defined. By refining the treatment using information from this clinical trial, we may be able to develop a liver-directed treatment as a superior alternative to the rather poorly tolerated drug treatments we currently offer patients with this type of cancer.”
“As leaders in interventional oncology, we are continuing to pursue better solutions for patients through innovation. Our suite of products are used to treat different stage cancers and they are delivered into the cancer tumour in a very targeted way, an approach called loco-regional therapy,” BTG’s chief scientific officer Melanie Lee added.
“This program is at a very early stage of research, but testing vandetanib-eluting beads in man is an exciting milestone. Bringing to market the first embolic beads visible under X-ray imaging has enabled increased control and precision during treatment, and adding a targeted anti-cancer agent we may be able to offer a new option for hard to treat cancers in the liver.”