Research at the Arizona Cancer Center has resulted in the opening of a Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma using an approved breast-cancer drug.
The center has been studying the drug nab-paclitaxel, trade named Abraxane, for seven years.
The therapy was developed by biotechnology company Abraxis BioScience, which is conducting a worldwide, multicenter, multinational Phase 3 trial of Abraxane in metastatic melanoma, with Arizona Cancer Center physician scientist Dr. Evan Hersh as the principal investigator.
Abraxane is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body after treatment with other medications has not been successful.
"If the efficacy of the drug is confirmed in the Phase 3 trial and it is shown to be superior to standard therapy, then we will have a new drug to add to our fight against this terrible disease," Hersh said. "It is a tribute to the Arizona Cancer Center and its leadership that encourages the development of new drugs to fight cancer, particularly after the disease has spread around the body."
After determining an optimal dose and schedule for the drug and observing possible effects in a few patients with advanced melanoma, the Arizona Cancer Center team led by Hersh conducted a Phase 2 study in patients who had extensive prior treatment for the disease, as well as those who had not been treated for their widespread metastatic melanoma.
Those findings, which Hersh and others have presented at meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Chemotherapy Foundation, led Abraxis BioScience to sponsor the Phase 3 trial headed by Hersh.