Have Scientists Developed the ‘Trojan Horse’ of Cancer Treatments?

Research from the combined efforts of The Institute for Cancer Research, in London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust has made a massive breakthrough in the world of cancer treatments.  Apparently, they have recently tested a new treatment in a clinical trial that involved evaluating the potential benefits and risks of a new drug in 147 patients.

While cancer drug testing is not usually something to be excited about, this new drug is remarkably different than all the other who came before.  This new chemotherapy drug—tisotumab vedotin (or TV)—acts a bit like a “Trojan Horse” because it has the potential to be useful against a broad spectrum of multiple forms of advanced cancers. 

Professor Johan de Bono, who is the regius Professor of Cancer Research at The Institute of Cancer Research, “What is so exciting about this treatment is that its mechanism of action is completely novel—it acts like a Trojan horse to sneak into cancer cells and kill them from the inside.”

Tisotumab vedotin is simply a mix of a monoclonal antibody with a cytotoxic component known to fatally damage human cells. It works by seeking out cell-signalling flags within “tissue factories” of cell membranes.  Locating these “flags” the drug demands entry into the cell. 

Now, it should probably be noted that all kinds of healthy cells have these “flags.”  When cancer is present, tumors will exploit this growth factor and use it to quickly replicate. This is what makes it easier for the drug to seek out the cancer and destroy it using its cytotoxic chemical weapons. More importantly, it can be used to treat many forms of caner. 

Bono goes on to say, “Our early study shows that it has the potential to treat a large number of different types of cancer, and particularly some of those with very poor survival rates.”

Regarding, the safety and efficacy of the drug, the oncologist further explains, “TV has manageable side effects, and we saw some good responses in the patients in our trial, all of whom had late stage cancer that had been heavily pre-treated with other drugs and who had run out of other options.”

The results of this research have been published this week in the journal The Lancet Oncology. 

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