Sea squirt drug 'targets cancer'
Researchers find tumours shrink after being treated with the drug
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Thursday, 21, Jun 2007 09:21
A drug derived from the sea-squirt could help to shrink and even completely remove cancer tumours, a new study has found.
The drug trabectedin resulted in anti-tumour activity in half of the patients studied who had a specific type of cancer.
An international team of researchers conducted a retrospective study of the effect of trabectedin on patients who had advanced pre-treated myxoid liposarcomas, a subtype of the liposarcoma group of cancers.
Writing in the Lancet medical journal today, they say that two of the 51 patients given the drug saw their tumours disappear completely.
A further 24 saw the longest diameter of their tumour shrink by at least 30 per cent. This represents an overall response rate of 51 per cent.
Earlier studies had only shown response rates of up to 20 per cent.
The researchers also found that the progression-free survival rate at six months was 88 per cent; previous studies in all soft tissue sarcomas found this figure to be closer to 20 per cent.
Commenting on the results, they said: "If the results of this analysis are reproduced in ongoing prospective studies, myxoid sarcoma would represent a uniquely sensitive subgroup to trabectedin treatment in the heterogeneous family of soft-tissue sarcoma."