According to recent news, two Spanish hospitals are testing cancer medication that is 100% Spanish.
Soon, they will test the new treatment on a maximum of 24 patients who have tumors with poor prognoses.
The first stage of the cancer study
The study will be performed at the Gregorio Marañon Hospital and Navarra Clinical University.
In the first stage of the cancer study, five patients who have tumors that have not responded to other treatment have already begun treatment with the medication (BO-112).
These five patients would be the first of a group of between 12 and 24 cancer patients who will participate in the first phase of the clinical study.
A medication from Spain
The medication began at the National Center of Cancer Research (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, or CNIO). Now, they are developing it at the above-mentioned health centers in Madrid and Pamplona.
The medication is from Spain. However, it won’t take long to go international.
As for a timeline, the first results of the studies would be ready in June.
The first American Cancer Association conference is in June. This is where they present major advances in oncology.
The medication could enter the market in three to four years.
Immunotherapy is a process that is revolutionizing cancer treatment.
Instead of directly fighting tumor cells like traditional chemotherapy does, it attacks cancer using the body’s own natural defenses.
Here, the immune system isn’t just stimulated. In addition, it’s also taught to identify malignant cells.
With proper training, your natural defenses will be able to address the tumor. Immunotherapy shrinks tumors with fewer side effects. Thus, it lessons the collateral damage to healthy tissue.
These advances are gradually changing the outlook of people with tumors, including melanoma and lung cancer.
Typology of tumors for the medication
Immunotherapy medication is already in the market, and this new Spanish medication will be added to the list.
At first, it was meant to treat solid tumors that are the most common (breast, lung, ovary, liver, and endocrine cancer, melanoma, sarcoma, etc.).
However, they chose patients with palpable and accessible tumors for the studies so far (including melanoma with cutaneous metastasis).
They will deliver the drug with a injection directly into the tumor, guided by an ultrasound, to deposit the medication locally.
Details about the new medication
Overall, they will try this Spanish-created therapy on people who have unsuccessfully been treated by existing treatments. Plus, this includes those other than immunotherapy.
First, they must demonstrate new medication’s effectiveness. Then, they can use it in other early stages of the illness, even before surgery.
The pre-market name of the drug, BO-112, indicates that it is still in the experimental phase. However, many have high expectations for it.
Overall, it would be the first medication that combines two promising approaches to fighting cancer: immunotherapy and autophagy. This is a mechanism that earned Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi the 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
However, the Spanish drug doesn’t have to work alone. In the future, they may combine it with other immunotherapies. In addition, they are also testing these options in clinical studies.
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A public-private collaboration
Overall, these studies are an excellent example of what a public-private collaboration can look like.
In 2010, the National Center of Oncology Research (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, or CNIO) gave the drug license to a up-and-coming Spanish company. It was a small biotechnology company that was born out of the collaboration: Bioncotech.
The studies were led by Marisol Soengas, head of the Melanoma Group of Bioncotech.
In her words:
“Scientists generally get few chances to see the results from the laboratory directly reach the patient. This clinical study is the result of the collaboration of researchers from multiple different disciplines headed by fantastic team from Bioncotech. We at CNIO are very proud of this big step.”
They will present the results of these trials in the biggest oncology conference in the world, the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference (ASCO). It will take place in Chicago from July 2nd to the 6th.
Principal image courtesy of wikiHow.com