399 new medicines in development to treat cancer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cancer

According to a new survey, there are currently 399 new medicines in
development now to treat cancer. The survey shows that many of
these medicines represent potential breakthrough cancer treatments,
while others involve possible new uses for existing medicines.

The survey, conducted by 178 biopharmaceutical companies and by the National Cancer Institute​, showed that research into possible cancer cures and treatments are in clinical trials or under Food and Drug Administration review.

The medicines include: 62 for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Particular drugs currently in clinical trials include GlaxoSmithKline's 715992, a kinesin spindle protein [KSP] inhibitor, which is currently in phase II clinical trials. Similarly, Sanofi Aventis' drug candidate meclinertant, a neurotensin antagonist, designed for treating small cell lung cancer is also in phase II development.

Forty-nine treatments were identified for breast cancer, which is expected to strike more than 200,000 American women this year, features a handful of notable treatments. Serono's adecatumumab, designed to be used for metastatic breast cancer is at the phase II stage. Slightly further along the development stage is Bonviva, Roche's treatment for metastatic bone disease in breast cancer in Phase III.

Fifty new treatments were identified for prostate cancer, which is expected to kill more than 30,000 American men this year. US company, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals have entered phase II with its mTOR inhibitor AP23573, used to treat hormone refractory prostate cancer. Likewise Lorus Therapeutics' antisense products GTI-2501 is also at an identical stage in development.

The thirty-five new treatments for colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in both men and women in the US, is headlined by Novartis Pharmaceuticals' vatalanib (PTK 787). Bristol-Myers Squibb are in phase III development for its early stage colorectal cancer (1st-line, 2nd-line and adjuvant) treatment, Erbitux (cetuximab).

Other potential medicines target kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, and others. In addition, companies are working on medicines to improve the quality of life for people undergoing cancer treatment.

"Anyone fighting cancer or anyone who has beaten it knows the importance of these medicines and this research,"​ said Billy Tauzin, PhRMA​ president and CEO.

"Sometimes, the hope that one of these new medicines will work for you is what keeps you fighting the disease. The real reward for the huge research and development investment in these new medicines comes when one of these treatments help save lives or allow patients to go home cancer-free,"​ he added.

The survey was particularly keen to highlight new treatments that were either available now or soon to be. These included a breakthrough medicine to treat metastatic colorectal cancer is the first treatment approved that prevents the formation of new blood vessels that provide tumours with oxygen and nutrients.

Other highlights included a medicine for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer inhibits the formation and growth of tumour cells and a first in a new class of drugs to prevent acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.

"Cancer is still the second leading cause of death by disease in the United States despite this progress,"​ warned Tauzin, "only heart disease kills more people. Some 570,280 Americans are expected to die this year of cancer, more than 1,500 people a day."

"The hundreds of medicines now in development to fight cancer show the commitment of America's biopharmaceutical companies to stemming cancer's toll and helping patients win the war on cancer,"​ he added.

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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