"We were able to identify markers in the pre-clinical setting that would allow us to predict response to Sprycel," Konecny said. "These may help us in future clinical trials in selecting patients for studies of the drug."
Sprycel is what is known as a "dirty" kinase inhibitor, meaning it inhibits more than one pathway. Konecny said it also inhibits the focal adhesion kinase and ephrin receptor, also associated with ovarian cancer.
The next step, Konecny said, would be to test the drug on women with ovarian cancer in a clinical trial. The tissue of responders would then be analyzed to determine if the Src and other pathways were activated. If that is confirmed, it would further prove that Sprycel could be used to fight ovarian cancer. In studies, women would be screened before entering a trial and only those with Src dependent cancers could be enrolled to provide further evidence, Konecny said, much like the studies of the molecularly targeted breast cancer drug Herceptin enrolled only women who had HER-2 positive disease.
"Herceptin is different because we knew in advance that the only worked in women with HER-2 amplification," he said. "In this case, we don't clearly know that yet. The data reassure us that the drug works where the targets are over-expressed but we need more testing to confirm this."
The tests combining the drug with chemotherapy are significant because chemotherapy currently is the first line treatment for ovarian cancer patients following surgery. Because Sprycel proved to have a synergistic effect when combined with chemotherapy both made the other work better it may be possible to add the targeted therapy as a first line treatment if its efficacy is confirmed in future studies, adding a new tool to an oncologist's arsenal.
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles