New Oral Chemotherapy Shows Breakthrough Potential in Mice

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Aug. 2, 2023 – A promising new oral cancer treatment has been shown to selectively destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. 

The drug has only been studied in animals and laboratory experiments, but it appears to have no side effects. It works by disrupting the reproduction cycle of cancer cells. In addition to inflicting “catastrophic” damage on cancer cells, the experimental drug showed the capability of enhancing the effectiveness of other cancer treatments, according to findings published this week in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

To date, the drug’s safety has been studied in mice and in dogs. In this latest study, its effect on cancer cells was tested in mice with tumors derived from breast cancer, small cell lung cancer, and a type of cancer that starts in nerve cells called neuroblastoma. In all, the researchers examined the drug’s effects on 70 cancers. 

“We acknowledge that positive animal study results do not always translate into success in treating cancer patients,” wrote the authors, who were led by a team from the California cancer center City of Hope. “Future clinical studies are necessary to determine its efficacy for cancer treatment.”

A phase I clinical trial in humans is underway. Phase I trials examine dosage and side effects. This phase is expected to last 2 years, and the first pill of the medicine, called AOH1996, was given to a patient in the trial in October 2022. AOH1996 has been in development for 2 decades and is named for a 9-year-old girl named Anna Olivia Healey who died from neuroblastoma.