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Study: New Zealand-Deveolped Drug Could Prolong Life/Lung Ca

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A New Zealand-developed drug could prolong the lives of people with lung cancer which kills more Kiwis than any other form of cancer.

The drug is getting closer to being approved after two decades of trialling.

Debbie Lamb has much to live for. She's a mother of three, a coach with her own soccer academy, a former New Zealand representative player and now, a lung cancer patient. She was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumour in January.

"You've got to be positive and only want the good things to happen to you. And I'm sure they will," she says.

Lamb is now having chemotherapy to shrink the tumour but with an added ingredient, a drug called DMXAA.

She is one of the first patients in the world taking part in stage three clinical trials for the drug, developed at Auckland University.

"The significance of this drug is that New Zealand's playing a leading role in the development of a radically new approach to cancer treatment," says Professor Bruce Baguley, Auckland University Cancer Researcher.

DMXAA works by cutting off the blood supply that tumours rely on to grow, causing their inner cores to die.

"The idea is that it works together with other drugs to starve the tumour," says Baguley.

A dedicated team of researchers has been working on DMXAA at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre for 20 years. They have not only developed the compound but have nursed it through numerous toxicity and safety tests and now the drug is being trialled on cancer patients. This stage three trial is the drug's last hurdle.

"This is a very important step because most anti-cancer drugs never get to this stage of clinical testing," says Dr Mark McKeage, Auckland Hospital oncologist.

Although not a cure, in the earlier stage two trials DMXAA nearly doubled the survival time of lung cancer patients compared to those given chemotherapy alone.

"If we can replicate that in this larger trial then we may have a very effective drug for lung cancer," says McKeage.

More than 1,000 patients from 200 hospitals worldwide are being opted onto the stage three trial. Auckland, Waikato and Christchurch patients are among the first.

Lamb hopes the drug will give her more time for the sport and people she loves.

"As far as I'm concerned its a chance. Whereas if you get hit by a bus or something like that it's sudden death, you don't get a chance. I have one and I'm gonna take it with both hands and turn it into something good," she says.

The stage three results will be known in three years.

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(tvnz.co.nz, One News, June 15, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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Hi, Barb.

Thanks for the posting.

One nice thing about DMXAA (from my point of view) is that it appears to be equally efficacious for both squamous and non-squamous NSCLC, this according to an ASCO abstract that I posted recently and which can be found at:

http://lungevity.org/l_community/viewto ... ight=dmxaa

Given that I'm probably going to be going off Alimta, I sure wish I could try it! :(


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