OGX-011, an experimental anti-clusterin agent, could almost double the life expectancy of patients with advanced prostate cancer, says a Canadian study.
OGX-011 works against prostate cancer by blocking the production of a gene protein called clusterin. Clustering makes malignant prostate cells immune to drug treatments or radiation.
OGX-011 could well be effective in certain other forms of cancers also as the clusterin protein is found in bladder, pancreas, colorectal, ovarian, breast and kidney cancers, researchers hope.
When tested in a patient population involoving 82 men at 12 different cancer centres with conventional prostate cancer treatments such as docetaxel and prednisone for one year, the researchers found that OGX-011 could extend the survival time by as much as seven months.
“The magnitude was much greater than we had expected or hoped for,” he said. “We were hoping for something in the four-month range. That would have been good enough,” Dr. Martin Gleave, executive director of the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, who led the team of researchers was quoted as saying in The Vancouver Sun.
Generally, patients with advanced hormone-resistant prostate cancer survive only about 17 to 20 months with chemotherapy and other treatments.
Chemotherapy, however, does not work with advanced prostate cancer. Usually, advanced prostate cancer is treated with hormone therapy. But prostate tumours turn resistant even to hormone therapy, eventually making all the treatment options virtually ineffective.
OGX-011 will now be tested in around 800 patients in a phase 3 trial. The OGX-011 treatment is expected to reach markets in a couple of yeras time.
The U.S. Defence Department has paid $1.4 million for the study. The department is sponsoring numerous prostate cancer trials to help thousands of aging war veterans diagnosed with the disease.
OGX-011 is licensed to OncoGenex Technologies.