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New generation BRAF inhibitor shows promise

Monday October 26th 2020

A drug designed to work against a range of BRAF mutations in several cancers is showing early promise, a European conference heard last night.

The drug PLX8394 is described as a next generation BRAF inhibitor, designed to overcome the resistance that limits the effectiveness of first generation inhibitors.

Details of the early clinical trials were reported to the EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.

In the trial in Texas, USA, 75 patients received the drug, some of them having it along with cobicistat.

Out of 45 patients who received combined treatment, ten had a partial response and stayed on the drug for up to two years. The patients included three with glioma, two with ovarian cancer, and others with bowel cancer, thyroid cancer or melanoma.

Researcher Dr Filip Janku, of the University of Texas, said: “Although we already have some BRAF inhibitor drugs, unfortunately they do not work for all patients with BRAF mutated cancers. In some cases, even when these drugs do work at first, cancers develop resistance. First generation BRAF inhibitors can also cause unpleasant skin lesions and skin cancers in some patients.

“The next generation BRAF inhibitor that we gave to patients in this trial was designed to avoid those problems. These results suggest that the combination of drugs we tested is relatively safe and may be effective for some patients.”

The conference co-chair Professor William Sellers, of Harvard Medical School, USA, said: “This trial shows positive signs for using a next generation BRAF inhibitor to treat patients with a variety of different cancer types and we look forward to hearing further results from the next stage of this research.”

Filip Janu et al. Interim results from a phase 1/2 precision medicine study of PLX8394 - a next generation BRAF inhibitor.

Tags: Cancer | Europe | North America | Pharmaceuticals

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