A Weekly Combination of Topotecan & Docetaxel Produces Clinical Benefit In Heavily Pretreated Ovarian Cancer Patients

Recurrent and metastatic endometrial and ovarian cancers can be notoriously difficult to treat. … Physicians at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University showed that a combination of two chemotherapy drugs not only produced clinical benefit for such patients but were also well tolerated.  The results of this phase II study were published online in Gynecologic Oncology on March 21st. …[T]he researchers concluded that the combination of weekly topotecan and docetaxel has clinical benefit and is well tolerated in this heavily treated epithelial ovarian and uterine cancer patient population.  The researchers also noted that patients with platinum-resistant tumors had clinical benefit and should be considered for further study with this regimen. …

Recurrent and metastatic endometrial and ovarian cancers can be notoriously difficult to treat.  Both diseases are capable of  spreading to other organs and developing resistance to chemotherapy.  Typically, under this scenario, the patients have been heavily treated with chemotherapy and may not be able to endure additional treatment. Physicians at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University showed that a combination of two chemotherapy drugs not only produced clinical benefit for such patients but were also well tolerated.  The results of this phase II clinical study were published online in Gynecologic Oncology on March 21st.

Mark H. Einstein, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Mark H. Einstein, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

“Women with recurrent gynecologic cancers have often had multiple rounds of chemotherapy, which can cause tumor cells to develop resistance to these drugs,” says Mark H. Einstein, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at Einstein, who headed the study. “This resistance can make it difficult for doctors to devise a treatment protocol that will impact the cancers while avoiding the often-severe side effects that certain chemotherapy drugs can cause, particularly when patients have already been heavily pretreated with other anti-cancer drugs.”Under the trial protocol, eligible patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian or uterine cancers were treated with weekly topotecan 3.5 mg/m(2) and docetaxel 30 mg/m(2) for 3 consecutive weeks. Cycles were repeated every 4 weeks for 6 cycles or until evidence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patient response was assessed under Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) or, when appropriate, Rustin’s Criteria.  The majority of patients had received 2 prior chemotherapy regimens (9 pts had received 1 previous regimen, 16 pts. had received 2, 1 pt. had received 3, and 1 pt. had received 4).  Of the twenty-seven patients registered, 24 were evaluable for response.  The results of the trial are set forth below.

  • 86 cycles of chemotherapy were administered.
  • There were three grade 4 (all neutropenia) and ten grade 3 toxicities.Six of the grade 3 toxicities were unrelated to treatment.
  • There were 8 dose delays and 4 dose reductions.
  • The overall response rate was 25%  (8% CR, 17% PR).
  • The clinical benefit rate was 38% (8% CR+17% PR+13% SD).
  • The median duration of response was 8.5 months (range 3-19 months).
  • The median overall survival was 18.5 months (range 1.8-50.7 months.

Based upon the foregoing results, the researchers concluded that the combination of weekly topotecan and docetaxel has clinical benefit and is well tolerated in this heavily treated epithelial ovarian and uterine cancer patient population.  The researchers also noted that patients with platinumresistant tumors had clinical benefit and should be considered for further study with this regimen.Compared with previous clinical trials, an unusually high proportion of these women had been heavily pretreated with chemotherapy─yet nearly 40 percent of them experienced clinical benefit. In addition, the overall survival with the drug combination (median survival of 18.5 months) was higher than in previous phase II studies that evaluated the drugs on an individual basis.  Finally, there were few and relatively mild side effects from the drug combination compared with toxicities observed in similar studies.

The effectiveness and safety outcomes of the trial are “promising enough to justify a larger clinical study of this drug combination for women with recurrent gynecologic cancers,” Dr. Einstein said.

Other researchers at Einstein involved in the trial were Divya Gupta, M.D., Ricky L. Owers, M.D., Mimi Kim, Sc.D., Dennis Yi-Shin Kuo, M.D., Gloria S. Huang, M.D., Shohreh Shahabi, M.D., and Gary L. Goldberg, M.D. Dr. Einstein’s research was funded, in part, by investigator-initiated grants from Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline Oncology for research-related trial costs.

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M.D. Anderson Study Predicts Dramatic Growth in Cancer Rates Among U.S. Elderly, Minorities

” … Over the next 20 years, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed annually in the United States will increase by 45 percent, from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2030, with a dramatic spike in incidence predicted in the elderly and minority populations, according to research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. …Given these statistics, the role of screening and prevention strategies becomes all the more vital and should be strongly encouraged, said [Ben] Smith [M.D.]. … These findings also highlight two issues that must be addressed simultaneously: clinical trial participation and the increasing cost of cancer care. Historically, both older adults and minorities have been under-represented in such studies, and, therefore, vulnerable to sub-optimal cancer treatment. Simultaneously, over the past decade in particular, the cost of cancer care is growing at a rate that’s not sustainable. …”

“Research underscores impact on health care system, importance of screenings, prevention strategies, inclusive clinical trials

Cancer Newsline Podcast
M. D. Anderson audio player (click & play)
Dramatic Growth in Cancer Rates Among Elderly, Minorities

Over the next 20 years, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed annually in the United States will increase by 45 percent, from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2030, with a dramatic spike in incidence predicted in the elderly and minority populations, according to research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The study, published online today in Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first to determine such specific long-term cancer incidence projections. It predicts a 67 percent increase in the number of adults age-65-or-older diagnosed with cancer, from 1 million in 2010 to 1.6 million in 2030. In non-white individuals over the same 20-year span, the incidence is expected to increase by 100 percent, from 330,000 to 660,000.

Ben Smith, M.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Center

Ben Smith, M.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

According to Ben Smith, M.D., adjunct assistant professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Radiation Oncology, the study underscores cancer’s growing stress on the U.S. health care system.

‘In 2030, 70 percent of all cancers will be diagnosed in the elderly and 28 percent in minorities, and the number of older adults diagnosed with cancer will be the same as the total number of Americans diagnosed with cancer in 2010,’ said Smith, the study’s senior author. ‘Also alarming is that a number of the types of cancers that are expected to increase, such as liver, stomach and pancreas, still have tremendously high mortality rates.’

Unless specific prevention and/or treatment strategies are discovered, cancer death rates also will increase dramatically, said Smith, who is currently on active military duty and is stationed at Lackland Air Force Base.

To conduct their research, Smith and his team accessed the United States Census Bureau statistics, updated in 2008 to project population growth through 2050, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry, the premier population-based cancer registry representing 26 percent of the country’s population. Cancer incidence rates were calculated by multiplying the age, sex, race and origin-specific population projections by the age, sex, race and origin-specific cancer incidence rates.

The researchers found that from 2010 to 2030, the population is expected to grow by 19 percent (from 305 to 365 million). The total number of cancer cases will increase by 45 percent (from 1.6 to 2.3 million), with a 67 percent increase in cancer incidence in older Americans (1 to 1.6 million), compared to an 11 percent increase in those under the age of 65 (.63 to .67 million).

With respect to race, a 100 percent increase in cancer is expected for minorities (.33 to .66 million); in contrast, in white Americans, a 31 percent increase is anticipated (1.3 to 1.7 million). The rates of cancer in blacks, American Indian-Alaska Native, multi-racial, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Hispanics will increase by 64 percent, 76 percent, 101 percent, 132 percent and 142 percent, respectively.

Regarding disease-specific findings, Smith and his team found that the leading cancer sites are expected to remain constant – breast, prostate, colon and lung. However, cancer sites with the greatest increase in incidence expected are: stomach (67 percent); liver (59 percent); myeloma (57 percent); pancreas (55 percent); and bladder (54 percent).

Given these statistics, the role of screening and prevention strategies becomes all the more vital and should be strongly encouraged, said Smith. In the study, Smith and his team site [sic]: vaccinations for hepatitis B and HPV; the chemoprevention agents tamoxifen and raloxifene; interventions for tobacco and alcohol; and removal of pre-malignant lesions, such as colon polyps.

These findings also highlight two issues that must be addressed simultaneously: clinical trial participation and the increasing cost of cancer care. Historically, both older adults and minorities have been under-represented in such studies, and, therefore, vulnerable to sub-optimal cancer treatment. Simultaneously, over the past decade in particular, the cost of cancer care is growing at a rate that’s not sustainable.

‘The fact that these two groups have been under-represented in clinical research participation, yet their incidence of cancer is growing so rapidly, reflects the need for therapeutic trials to be more inclusive and address issues that are particularly relevant to both populations,’ said Smith. ‘In addition, as we design clinical trials, we need to seek not only the treatment that will prolong survival, but prolong survival at a reasonable cost to patients. These are two issues that oncologists need to be much more concerned about and attuned to.’

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the shortage of health care professionals predicted. For example, according to a workforce assessment by American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the shortage of medical oncologists will impact the health care system by 2020. Smith said ASCO and other professional medical organizations beyond oncology are aware of the problem, and are actively engaged in efforts to try and grow the number of physicians, as well as encourage the careers of nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are part of the continuum of care, to best accommodate the increase in demand forecasted.

‘There’s no doubt the increasing incidence of cancer is a very important societal issue. There will not be one solution to this problem, but many different issues that need to be addressed to prepare for these changes,’ said Smith. ‘I’m afraid if we don’t come to grips with this as a society, health care may be the next bubble to burst.’

In addition to Smith, other M. D. Anderson authors on the study include: Thomas Buchholz, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and the study’s senior author; Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Breast Medical Oncology; and Grace Smith, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Arti Hurria, M.D., post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Medical Oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, also is a contributing author on the study.”

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Women of Diverse Ethnic Ancestry Have Similar Risk of Carrying BRCA Mutations as Those With Western European Ancestry

” …The study, performed by researchers at Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center and Myriad Genetics, Inc., analyzed the prevalence of BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations in patients of different ethnicities at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The study included test results of 46,276 women during the ten-year period from 1996 to 2006. Study subjects encompassed a broad, diverse ethnic group, including individuals of European, Latin American, African, Asian and Native American ancestries. … Results of the study showed that BRCA disease-causing mutations were identified in 5,780 women tested (12.5%) across all ethnic populations. Importantly, the study demonstrated that individuals of African and Latin American ancestry had as great a risk in having BRCA mutations as women with western European ancestry, when controlled for the level of personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer. …”

“New Study Published in CANCER Supports Use of BRACAnalysis Testing Across Broad Ethnic Populations

Women of Asian, African and Latin American Ancestry Had Similar Risk of Carrying BRCA Mutations as Those With Western European Ancestry

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Apr 30, 2009 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) — Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN) announced today that an article entitled ‘BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations in Women of Different Ethnicities Undergoing Testing for Hereditary Breast-Ovarian Cancer‘ will appear in the May 15, 2009 issue of the journal CANCER.  The study demonstrates that BRACAnalysis(R) testing of at-risk women across diverse ethnicities helps identify individuals who may benefit from improved surveillance, medical and surgical strategies to reduce their hereditary cancer risks.

critchfield

Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S., President, Myriad Genetic Laboratories

‘This study, the largest of its kind, shows convincingly that strong family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer is associated with a high prevalence of BRCA mutations — irrespective of one’s ethnic heritage,’ stated Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S., President of Myriad Genetic Laboratories.

The association between ethnicity and the risk of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations has not been well understood in women of non-European ancestry. This study provides important information for women of Asian, African, Latin American and Native American ancestry that may impact breast cancer [and ovarian cancer] prevention and treatment efforts among women in these populations. The study, performed by researchers at Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center and Myriad Genetics, Inc., analyzed the prevalence of BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations in patients of different ethnicities at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The study included test results of 46,276 women during the ten-year period from 1996 to 2006. Study subjects encompassed a broad, diverse ethnic group, including individuals of European, Latin American, African, Asian and Native American ancestries. To date, this work represents the largest group of patients tested for BRCA mutations reported in the literature. All testing was performed at Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Results of the study showed that BRCA disease-causing mutations were identified in 5,780 women tested (12.5%) across all ethnic populations. Importantly, the study demonstrated that individuals of African and Latin American ancestry had as great a risk in having BRCA mutations as women with western European ancestry, when controlled for the level of personal and family history of breast and ovarian cancer.

Professional medical society guidelines, such as the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), articulate risk factors for BRCA gene mutations, which include, among others, breast cancer occurring before age 50, personal or family history of ovarian cancer at any age, personal or family history of male breast cancer, Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with breast cancer at any age, or the presence of a known BRCA mutation in the family.

About BRACAnalysis(R)

BRACAnalysis(R) is a comprehensive analysis of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes for assessing a woman’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer. A woman who tests positive with the BRACAnalysis(R) test has, on average, an 82% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime and a 44% risk of developing ovarian cancer. BRACAnalysis(R) provides important information that the Company believes will help the patient and her physician make better informed lifestyle, surveillance, preventive medication and treatment decisions. As published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers have shown that pre-symptomatic individuals who have a high risk of developing breast cancer can reduce their risk by approximately 50% with appropriate preventive therapies. Additionally, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have shown that pre-symptomatic individuals who carry gene mutations can lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer by approximately 60% with appropriate preventive therapies.

For more information about BRACAnalysis(R), please call 1-800-4-MYRIAD, or visit www.myriadtests.com.

About Myriad Genetics

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a leading healthcare company focused on the development and marketing of novel molecular diagnostic and therapeutic products. Myriad’s news and other information are available on the Company’s Web site at www.myriad.com.

Myriad, the Myriad logo, BRACAnalysis, Colaris, Colaris AP, Melaris, TheraGuide, Prezeon, OnDose, Azixa and Vivecon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Myriad Genetics, Inc. in the United States and foreign countries. MYGN-G”

Sources

Related InformationCLICK HERE to review all Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ postings relating to BRCA gene mutations.

Preclinical Results Validate Lpathomab As A Potential Future Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

“Lpath, Inc. … , the category leader in bioactive-lipid-targeted therapeutics, reported compelling new in vivo and in vitro results relating to its preclinical drug candidate, Lpathomab, in various ovarian cancer studies …”

“Lpath Presents Compelling New Preclinical Results of Its Anti-Cancer Drug Candidate, Lpathomab(TM), at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting –

New In Vivo and In Vitro Results Provide Further Validation of Lpathomab as Potential Treatment for Cancer

SAN DIEGO, CA, Apr 20, 2009 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX)Lpath, Inc. (OTCBB: LPTN), the category leader in bioactivelipid-targeted therapeutics, reported compelling new in vivo and in vitro results relating to its preclinical drug candidate, Lpathomab, in various ovarian cancer studies. The results were presented today by Lpath scientists at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Denver, Colorado.

Lpathomab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the bioactive lipid lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and acts as a molecular sponge to absorb LPA, thereby neutralizing LPA-mediated biological effects on tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis. LPA has been associated with a variety of cancer types, but the correlation with ovarian cancer and breast cancer has been particularly strong.

Using the human ovarian cell line called SKOV3, Lpath’s preclinical studies demonstrated Lpathomab significantly reduced IL-8 and IL-6 cytokine release in SKOV3-conditioned media and blocked tumor-cell migration triggered by LPA (both IL-8 and IL-6 promote tumor angiogenesis and metastasis). More important, Lpathomab inhibited the progression of SKOV3 tumor cells when injected into the peritoneal cavity of mice and reduced levels of pro-metastatic factors in these animals.

Lpathomab also reduced neovascularization (new blood-vessel growth) in two classical angiogenic models and showed preliminary anti-metastatic activity when tested in a classical experimental metastasis model.

According to Roger Sabbadini, Ph.D., Lpath’s founder and chief scientific officer, ‘In view of these promising preclinical results, we believe Lpathomab has the potential to augment the efficacy of current ovarian cancer therapy by blocking the growth-promoting, angiogenic, and metastatic effects of LPA.’

About Lpath

San-Diego-based Lpath, Inc. is the category leader in bioactive-lipid-targeted therapeutics, an emerging field of medical science whereby bioactive signaling lipids are targeted for treating important human diseases. ASONEP(TM), an antibody against Sphingosine-1-Phosphate (S1P), is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial in cancer patients and also holds promise against multiple sclerosis and various other disorders. ASONEP is being developed with the support of partner Merck-Serono as part of a worldwide exclusive license. A second product candidate, iSONEP(TM) (the ocular formulation of the S1P antibody), has demonstrated superior results in various preclinical models of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinopathy and is in a Phase 1 clinical trial in wet-AMD patients. Lpath’s third product candidate, Lpathomab(TM), is an antibody against lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a key bioactive lipid that has been long recognized as a valid disease target (cancer, neuropathic pain, fibrosis). The company’s unique ability to generate novel antibodies against bioactive lipids is based on its ImmuneY2(TM) drug-discovery engine, which the company is leveraging as a means to expand its pipeline. For more information, visit www.Lpath.com …”

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Novogen’s NV-128 Targets mTOR Pathway To Block Differentiation and Induce Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells

“Data just presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver has demonstrated that NV-128, a Novogen, Limited (ASX: NRT NASDQ: NVGN) synthetic isoflavonoid compound, not only induces cell death in Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells (OCSCs), but also blocks their differentiation into structures which are required to support tumor growth.  In a poster presentation by Ayesha Alvero, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, it was revealed that in addition to an inhibitory effect on OCSC growth, NV-128 displays a remarkable ability to inhibit differentiation of OCSCs into formation of new blood vessels. … ‘We have now demonstrated that by inhibiting the mTOR pathway in both the cancer stem cells and the mature cancer cells, we are able to inhibit development of structural elements necessary for tumor development as well as limit the number of cancer cells,’ Professor Mor said. ‘These results open a new avenue for the development of better treatment modalities for ovarian cancer patients.’ …”

“(Sydney Australia and New Canaan, Connecticut – 20 April, 2009) – Data just presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver has demonstrated that NV-128, a Novogen, Limited (ASX: NRT NASDQ: NVGN) synthetic isoflavonoid compound, not only induces cell death in Ovarian Cancer Stem Cells (OCSCs), but also blocks their differentiation into structures which are required to support tumor growth.

alvero

Ayesha Alvero, M.D., Associate Research Fellow, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Yale University School of Medicine

In a poster presentation by Ayesha Alvero, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, it was revealed that in addition to an inhibitory effect on OCSC growth, NV-128 displays a remarkable ability to inhibit differentiation of OCSCs into formation of new blood vessels.

The anti-proliferative effects were demonstrated to be achieved as a result of NV-128 inhibiting phosphorylation of the pro-survival mTOR pathway resulting in mitochondrial depolarisation and cell death. Time lapsed photographic morphometry revealed in graphic detail how NV-128 induces morphological changes in OCSCs after 24 hours, even when dosed as low as 1μg/ml with a progressive “clearing” of cytoplasm and condensation of nuclear material.

The effect of NV-128 on OCSC vessel formation was observed by plating OCSCs in high-density matrigel either without NV-128 (controls) or in the presence of 0.1 mg/ml NV-128 and observing for 48 hours. Whereas the control cultures showed differentiation of the stem cells into endothelial-type cells forming structurally intact blood vessels in the culture plates, cells cultured in the presence of NV-128 showed no differentiation and no structural elements were observed.

OCSCs represent a highly chemo-resistant cell population, allowing them to survive conventional chemotherapy. Thus these cells are considered to be the potential source of tumor induction and post-treatment recurrence.

The team from Yale University, headed by Professor Gil Mor, recently reported the identification and characterisation of OCSCs using the CD44 marker and demonstrated pronounced up-regulation of the mTOR survival pathway in these cells. They previously reported that NV-128 is able to specifically induce mTOR dephosphorylation resulting in inhibition of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity in mature ovarian cancer cells derived from established human cancers and cultured in vitro. In mice with human ovarian cancers established by grafting techniques (xenografts) NV-128 caused substantial cancer cell death, reducing tumor growth with no apparent toxic side-effects.

mor

Gil Mor, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Yale University School of Medicine

‘We have now demonstrated that by inhibiting the mTOR pathway in both the cancer stem cells and the mature cancer cells, we are able to inhibit development of structural elements necessary for tumor development as well as limit the number of cancer cells,’ Professor Mor said. ‘These results open a new avenue for the development of better treatment modalities for ovarian cancer patients.’

‘We are encouraged by these data from animal studies showing a combination of anti-cancer activities of NV-128, coupled with an apparently high safety profile,’ said Professor Alan Husband, Group Director of Research for the Novogen group. ‘This anti-angiogenic effect, coupled with the absolute effects on cell survival, demonstrate the potential for NV-128 to become a powerful new tool in prevention as well as treatment of cancer.’

Novogen has previously reported on the parallel effects of NV-128 in non-small cell lung cancer models and the Company intends to pursue this, as well as ovarian cancer, as target indications.

Novogen is currently in advanced negotiations with its majority owned subsidiary, Marshall Edwards, Inc. (MEI), to out-license NV-128 to MEI for its clinical development as a potential cancer therapeutic. To view an online abstract relating to this study, [CLICK HERE].

About NV-128

NV-128 does not rely on the traditional approach of caspase-mediated apoptosis, a death mechanism which is not effective in cancer cells that have become resistant to chemotherapy. Rather, NV-128 uncouples a signal transduction cascade which has a key role in driving protein translation and uncontrolled cancer cell proliferation. Further, NV-128 induces mitochondrial depolarisation via the novel mTOR pathway. In cancer cells, mTOR signals enhance tumor growth and may be associated with resistance to conventional therapies. Inhibition of the mTOR pathway appears to shut down many of these survival pathways, including proteins that protect the mitochondria of cancer cells. Animal studies have shown that NV-128 not only significantly retards tumor proliferation, inhibiting the progression of ovarian cancers-engrafted into mice, but produces this effect without apparent toxicity. This effect was shown to be due to caspase-independent pathways involving inhibition of the mTOR pathway. Unlike analogues of rapamycin, which target only mTORC1, NV-128’s capacity to inhibit mTOR phosphorylation enables it to inhibit both mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity. This blocks growth factor-driven activation of AKT and the potential for development of chemoresistance.

About Novogen Limited

Novogen Limited (ASX: NRT; NASDAQ: NVGN) is an Australian biotechnology company based in Sydney, Australia, that is developing a range of oncology therapeutics from its proprietary flavonoid synthetic chemistry technology platform. More information on NV-128 and on the Novogen group of companies can be found at www.novogen.com.

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Additional Information Re Novogen’s NV-128:

Personalized Medicine Helps Breast, Colorectal & Ovarian Cancer Patients Survive

“Cancer patients can survive longer under treatments based on their individual genetic profiles, according to a nationwide study released jointly today by Phoenix-area healthcare organizations. The study shows that molecular profiling of patients can identify specific treatments for individuals, helping keep their cancer in check for significantly longer periods, and in some cases even shrinking tumors. Study results were released today at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Physician-In-Chief of the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and the study’s Principal Investigator. … Patients experienced varying levels of improvement. Among those with breast cancer, the period of progression-free survival increased for 44 percent of patients; for colorectal, 36 percent of patients; for ovarian, 20 percent of patients; and for miscellaneous cancers the improvement was seen in 16 percent of patients. …” [Emphasis added by Libby’s H*O*P*E*™]


tgen-logo1

“Personalized medicine helps cancer patients survive – TGen, Scottsdale Healthcare and Caris Dx clinical trial shows molecular profiling can result in specific treatments for individual patients that significantly limit the growth and spread of tumors

PHOENIX, Ariz. – April 19, 2009 – Cancer patients can survive longer under treatments based on their individual genetic profiles, according to a nationwide study released jointly today by Phoenix-area healthcare organizations.

The study shows that molecular profiling of patients can identify specific treatments for individuals, helping keep their cancer in check for significantly longer periods, and in some cases even shrinking tumors.

von_hoff

Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., F.A.C.P., Physician in Chief & Senior Investigator, The Translational Genomics Research Institute; Chief Scientific Officer, TGen Clinical Research Services, Scottsdale Healthcare; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Arizona Department of Medicine

Study results were released today at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Physician-In-Chief of the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and the study’s Principal Investigator.

The study included 66 patients at nine centers across the United States, including Scottsdale Heathcare. Dr. Von Hoff also is the Chief Scientific Officer of TGen Clinical Research Services (TCRS) at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership between TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare that is administered by the Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) at Scottsdale Healthcare.

All of the patients had previously experienced growth of their tumors while undergoing as many as two to six prior cancer treatments, including conventional chemotherapy.

However, after molecular profiling identified precise targets, new treatments were administered that resulted in patients experiencing significant periods of time when there was no progression of their cancer.

This clinical trial was unique because patients acted as their own control,’ said Dr. Von Hoff. ‘We compared each patient’s progression-free survival, following treatment based on molecular profiling, to how their tumors progressed under their prior treatment regimens, before molecular profiling.’

In a significant number of patients, the targeted treatments provided significantly longer periods when tumors did not progress, or even shrunk, said Dr. Von Hoff, who also is a Medical Director of US Oncology and a former Director of the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Von Hoff said the new study was done in a way that avoided issues surrounding tumor subtypes and differences in individual biology, which have confounded other clinical trials.

He said this clinical trial demonstrated the value of personalized medicine, in which treatments are prescribed based on an individual’s specific genetic makeup. The type of drugs, dosages, their delivery and other treatment aspects – all are based on each patient’s individual medical needs.

Among the patients, 27 percent had breast cancer, 17 percent had colorectal cancer, 8 percent had ovarian cancer and 48 percent had cancers that were classified as miscellaneous.

Patients experienced varying levels of improvement. Among those with breast cancer, the period of progression-free survival increased for 44 percent of patients; for colorectal, 36 percent of patients; for ovarian, 20 percent of patients; and for miscellaneous cancers the improvement was seen in 16 percent of patients.

‘With this trial, we are showing the power of personalized medicine using the tools we already have available to us. As these tools become more precise and more effective, the value of personalized medicine will increase,’ Dr. Von Hoff said.

The molecular profiling for this research study was performed by Caris Diagnostics (Caris Dx) in Phoenix.

These results are the first in a series of studies in support of Target NowTM, a commercially-available oncology testing service offered exclusively by Caris Dx. Target Now uses cutting-edge molecular profiling techniques, including both DNA microarray and immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis, to provide individualized information about a patient’s tumor as an aid to the treating oncologist.

‘This trial is evidence of an important breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. We are excited to work with Dr. Von Hoff and TGen as we make this important molecular diagnostic information available to physicians to aid in therapy-selection decision making,’ said David D. Halbert, Chairman and CEO of Caris Diagnostics. ‘The valuable information provided through the Target Now panel of tests improves patient care while reducing costs for the payer.’

Clinical studies were conducted by TCRS at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center. Scottsdale Healthcare is a primary clinical research site for TGen.

‘Patients in our community have access to ground-breaking, world-class research right in their own backyard thanks to this collaboration,’ said Tom Sadvary, president and CEO of Scottsdale Healthcare. ‘Our goal is reducing the time it takes to get new treatment discoveries from the research lab to the patient. We are thrilled to see these advances in personalized medicine taking place right here in Scottsdale.’

The recent clinical study was dubbed the Bisgrove Trial, after longtime Scottsdale Healthcare supporter Jerry Bisgrove. The trial was funded through a $5 million grant from Mr. Bisgrove’s Stardust Foundation to the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. Mr. Bisgrove has been a patient at Scottsdale Healthcare and is a member of the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees. In honor of the Stardust gift, the research building at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center is named the Debi and Jerry Bisgrove Research Pavilion.

‘The Stardust Foundation is proud to have played a key role in the advancements in cancer research represented by Dr. Von Hoff’s clinical trial. We believe we are closer than ever to finding a cure for this devastating disease that affects so many millions,’ Mr. Bisgrove said.

*          *          *

About Scottsdale Healthcare
Scottsdale Healthcare is a primary clinical research site for TGen. TGen Clinical Research Services (TCRS) at Scottsdale Healthcare is housed in the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, located on the Scottsdale Healthcare Shea medical campus. Scottsdale Healthcare is the not-for-profit parent organization of the Scottsdale Healthcare Shea, Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn and Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak hospitals, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute, TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Home Health Services, Scottsdale Healthcare Community Health Services, and Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. For additional information, visit www.shc.org.

About Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute (SCRI)
SCRI, established in 2005, provides infrastructure and support for the clinical research at Scottsdale Healthcare. Start-up funding for SCRI was provided by a lead gift of $4.5 million from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust in 2005. An additional $5 million was provided by the Stardust Foundation to support this multi-site molecular profiling study of targeted therapies for treatment refractory cancers coordinated by SCRI. A defining feature of SCRI is a focus on genomics and personalized medicine as well as clinical and translational research. The basic science arm of SCRI is provided by a partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Innovations from TGen’s laboratory are taken to the bedside at SHC by our joint clinical research program, TGen Clinical Research Services (TCRS) at Scottsdale Healthcare. Additional research collaborations include the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, other local health care delivery systems and participation in the Arizona NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program initiative. Areas of study at SCRI include Cancer, Cardiovascular, Trauma, Metabolic and Nanomedicine.

Press Contact:
Keith Jones
Public Relations Director
Scottsdale Healthcare
480-882-4412
kjones@shc.org

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
syozwiak@tgen.org

About Caris Diagnostics
Caris Diagnostics (Caris Dx) is a leading provider of the highest quality diagnostic, translational development and pharmaceutical services encompassing anatomic pathology and molecular testing. Caris Diagnostics provides world-class pathology services to physicians who treat patients in the community setting. The company provides academic-caliber medical consults through its industry-leading team of subspecialty fellowship and expert-trained pathologists in gastrointestinal and liver pathology, dermatopathology and hematopathology. Caris Diagnostics provides the highest levels of service to its customers and their patients through its state-of-the-art laboratories; proprietary, advanced clinical and technology solutions; and rigorous quality assurance programs. Through the molecular testing expertise of the Caris Molecular Profiling Institute (Caris MPI) at Caris Dx, the company also offers advanced molecular analyses of patient samples through prognostic testing services and genomic and proteomic profiling to provide critical information to physicians treating cancer and other complex diseases. In addition, Caris MPI supports pharmaceutical companies and other researchers in their clinical trials for targeted therapeutics with custom genomic and proteomic analyses, analyte preservation, tissue procurement and comprehensive reporting services. The company has strategic relationships with the International Genomics Consortium, US Oncology, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University. More than 2,000 physicians nationally use Caris Diagnostics. Formed in 1996, the company is headquartered in Irving, Texas and operates four laboratories: Irving, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona (2 sites); Newton, Massachusetts. Additional information is available at www.carisdx.com.

Press Contact:
Brian Wright
Caris Dx
(602) 358-8916
bwright@carismpi.com”

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Genetic Variations In miRNA Processing Pathway & Binding Sites Help Predict Ovarian Cancer Risk

“Genetic variations in the micro-RNA (miRNA) processing pathway genes and miRNA binding sites predict a woman’s risk for developing ovarian cancer and her prospects for survival, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reported at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. … The unique study was the first to examine the association of genetic variants related to miRNA with ovarian cancer risk, overall survival for ovarian cancer patients, and platinum-based chemotherapy response. …”

Genetic variations in miRNA processing pathway and binding sites help predict ovarian cancer risk – Several variations indicate likelihood of response to platinum-based chemotherapy

DENVER – Genetic variations in the micro-RNA (miRNA) processing pathway genes and miRNA binding sites predict a woman’s risk for developing ovarian cancer and her prospects for survival, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reported at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

‘We found a gene dosage effect, the more unfavorable variations a woman has, the greater her ovarian cancer risk and the shorter her survival time,’ said senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology. Median survival, for example, ranged from 151 months for women with fewest unfavorable variations to 24 months for those with the most.

Several variations also indicate likely response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

‘Our findings have the potential clinical application of indicating a patient’s prognosis and showing who will respond to different therapies by analyzing a single blood sample,’ Wu said. ‘We also will incorporate this genetic information with epidemiological information to build a comprehensive model to predict susceptibility to ovarian cancer.’

The team chose the miRNA processing pathway because it is crucial to production of miRNAs, the small molecules that regulate between one third and half of all genes. The researchers also chose the binding sites on host genes where miRNAs exert their effects on gene expression.

They analyzed 219 potential functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – variations of a single DNA building block in a gene – in eight genes that process miRNA and at the miRNA binding sites of 129 cancer-relevant genes. The study examined genetic information from 417 cancer patients and 417 healthy controls. To minimize the possible confounding effects of ethnicity, 339 Caucasian cases and 349 controls were analyzed.

They discovered 12 SNPs to be significantly associated with ovarian cancer risk. Moreover, compared to women with five or fewer unfavorable genotypes, women with eight or more of these unfavorable genotypes were 4.5 times more likely to develop ovarian cancer and women with six to eight unfavorable SNPs were at twice the risk.

The team also found 21 SNPs significantly associated with overall survival. Median survival was 151 months for women with six or fewer unfavorable variations; 42 months for those with seven to nine unfavorable variations; and 24 months for those with 10 or more. One of the outcome risk SNPs also was strongly associated with platinum-based chemotherapy response, with those having the SNP 3.4 times less likely to respond to chemotherapy.

Wu collaborated with Dong Liang, Ph.D, in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Texas Southern University, and Karen Lu, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology, on this study.

The unique study was the first to examine the association of genetic variants related to miRNA with ovarian cancer risk, overall survival for ovarian cancer patients, and platinum-based chemotherapy response. Such a wide-ranging inquiry was made possible by M. D. Anderson’s extensive clinical and genetic data sets, Wu said.

Co-authors with Wu, first author Liang, Ph.D., and Lu are; Jie Lin, Ph.D., Xia Pu, Yuanqing Ye, Ph.D., all in the Department of Epidemiology; and Larissa Meyer, M.D., in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Pu is a graduate student at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, which is a joint effort of M. D. Anderson and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

This research was supported by an award by the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.”

About M. D. Anderson

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world’s most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For four of the past six years, including 2008, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in “America’s Best Hospitals,” a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.

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