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Mesothelioma drug slows disease progression in patients with an inactive NF2 gene
Date:11/8/2012

Preliminary findings from the first trial of a new drug for patients with mesothelioma show that it has some success in preventing the spread of the deadly disease in patients lacking an active tumour suppressor gene called NF2. The study is presented at the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR [1] Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland, today (Friday) [2].

Mesothelioma, which is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, has few treatment options and patients usually die within 9-17 months of diagnosis. Previous research has shown that the gene NF2, which produces a protein called merlin, is frequently inactivated in approximately 50% of mesotheliomas. Merlin negatively regulates another protein called focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in mesothelioma, and so when NF2 and merlin are inactivated, the activity of FAK is increased and mesothelioma cells become invasive and start to spread. When NF2 and merlin activity is restored, FAK activity and cell invasion are decreased.

Professor Jean-Charles Soria, Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at South Paris University and head of early drug development at the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris (France), said: "This suggested that if we could inhibit FAK in mesothelioma patients, it might slow or stop the spread of the disease. Pre-clinical work has shown that an agent, currently known as GSK2256098, is a potent and specific inhibitor of FAK. Early in the clinical study presented today, a patient with mesothelioma, who had progressed quickly on prior therapies, had prolonged stable disease while on GSK2256098, which is suggestive of clinical activity."

Prof Soria and colleagues at nine centres in France, Australia and the United Kingdom recruited 29 mesothelioma patients to the phase I study of GSK2256098, starting in July 2010. The study is continuing.

The mesothelioma patients took the drug orally in capsule form twice a day at doses ranging from 300 - 1500 mg, wi
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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