Scientists have confirmed that a novel cancer drug which acts as a ‘Trojan horse’ to destroy tumours from the inside has shown promising results across six different forms of the deadly disease.
The innovative new drug, called tisotumab vedotin (TV), releases a toxic substance to kill cancer cells from within as per the study conducted by the researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK. TV is made up of a toxic drug attached to the tail end of an antibody.
It is designed to seek out a receptor called ’tissue factor’ present at high levels on the surface of many cancer cells and linked with worse survival. Binding to tissue factor draws the drug inside cancer cells, where it can kill them from within.
The results, published in The Lancet Oncology, are so positive the drug has now moved forward to phase II trials in cervical cancer and will be tested in a range of additional solid tumour cancers.
The researchers led a global clinical trial of nearly 150 patients with a variety of cancer types who had stopped responding to standard treatments. They found that a significant minority of cancer patients responded to the drug, with their tumours either shrinking or stopping growing.
The majority of patients in the early trial had advanced stage cancer (spread locally or around the body) that had already been treated with, and became resistant to, an average of three different types of treatment.
TV is now being trialled in other cancer types including bowel, pancreatic, squamous cell lung and head and neck, as well as in a phase II trial as a second-line treatment for cervical cancer. The researchers have already begun additional trials of the drug in different tumour types and as a second-line treatment for cervical cancer, where response rates were particularly high.