Genprex Begins Phase II Clinical Trial for Lung Cancer

Genprex, Inc. announced today that it has enrolled the first patient in a clinical trial evaluating its lead product candidate Oncoprex® in combination with erlotinib (Tarceva®) for late-stage lung cancer patients. Oncoprex is a targeted biologic incorporating the pan-kinase inhibitor TUSC2, which inhibits oncogenic kinases via multiple pathways.

“The trial is significant in that it seeks to determine if patients without the EGFR activating mutation as well as patients with the EGFR activating mutation whose cancer has progressed after erlotinib treatment can benefit from the Oncoprex + erlotinib combination therapy. While erlotinib is a blockbuster drug helping many cancer patients worldwide, research shows that the vast majority of patients who have lung cancers without the activating EGFR mutation are unlikely to benefit from erlotinib. Additionally, many patients with the activating EGFR mutation who respond to erlotinib therapy eventually become resistant to the therapy.

Editor’s note: Clinical trials are studies done with volunteer patients to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments (learn more in our lung cancer KnowledgeBase). This clinical trial is testing a new targeted therapy drug called Oncoprex. When combined with the drug erlotinib (Tarceva), Oncoprex may help treat patients who usually do not benefit from erlotinib or who have grown resistant to it.


Thwarting Drug Resistance in Lung Cancer


If you’ve read up on lung cancer research in the last few years, you probably know that large strides have been made in targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Targeted therapies are drugs that identify and attack specific mutated proteins that are detected in tumors. Because noncancerous cells do not have these specific mutations, targeted therapies can make a beeline for cancer, while leaving healthy tissue unharmed. Continue reading…


Drug Combo May Knock Down Lung Cancer

“Some drug-resistant cancers of the lung, pancreas and breast might be made vulnerable again by treating them with a medication already approved for another type of cancer, according to a new study led by scientists at UC San Diego.

“Researchers at UCSD Moores Cancer Center said they plan to start a clinical trial to test the use of Velcade for lung cancer in about six months. This quick start is possible because the drug is currently on the market, said Dr. Hatim Husain, an author of the study who is designing the clinical trial. For more information about the trial, call (858) 822-5182.”

Editor’s note: Clinical trials can be important treatment options for some patients. This one might be particularly appropriate for people who have taken the drug Tarceva (erlotinib) but became resistant to it. The drug combination being tested in this clinical trial has previously shown disappointing results, but the researchers are hopeful that by using molecular testing to identify patients who are more likely to benefit, they may be able to successfully use the treatment. Learn more about clinical trials here.


Roche Lung Cancer Pill Gets Reprieve in UK Reversal

“Britain’s health cost watchdog NICE on Friday reversed an earlier decision to limit the use of Roche’s Tarceva cancer pill on the state health service in a move the drugmaker said would help around 2,000 patients a year.

“New draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now backs use of Tarceva for people with non-small-cell lung cancer that has progressed after chemotherapy in wider circumstances than originally suggested.”


Erlotinib and Gefitinib Offer Similar Benefit in EGFR-Mutated Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

“A retrospective study has shown that two targeted therapy drugs—erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa)—achieved similar outcomes among people with metastatic or recurrent non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring an EGFR mutation. These EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors have previously been reported to offer benefit over standard chemotherapy as first-line treatment of EGFR-positive advanced NSCLC. The study findings by Lim et al are published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

“Erlotinib is used worldwide, and gefitinib is widely used in Asian countries and recently in Europe (only for patients with tumors harboring EGFR mutations) but not in the United States. Indirect comparisons of the two agents have resulted in inconsistency with regard to progression-free survival, and until now, the agents have not been compared head-to-head in patients with EGFR-positive NSCLC.”

Editor’s note: Erlotinib and gefitinib are targeted therapies. Learn more.


Committee: NSCLC Study Should be Halted Due to Lack of Efficacy

“An independent data monitoring committee recommended that a phase 3 study designed to evaluate the combination of onartuzumab and erlotinib in a subset of patients with non–small cell lung cancer be stopped due to lack of clinically meaningful efficacy, according to a press release issued by the drugs’ manufacturer.

“The randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled MetLung study compared the humanized monoclonal antibody onartuzumab (MetMab, Genentech) plus the protein kinase inhibitor erlotinib(Tarceva, Genentech) vs. erlotinib alone in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC whose tumors were MET-positive.”


A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start

“Cancer is a disease of genes gone wrong. When certain genes mutate, they make cells behave in odd ways. The cells divide swiftly, they hide from the immune system that could kill them, and they gain the nourishment they need to develop into tumors.

“Scientists started identifying these cancer genes in the 1970s and their list slowly grew over the years. By studying them, scientists came to understand how different types of cancer develop and, in some cases, they were even able to develop gene-targeting drugs. Last May, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Tarceva to treat lung cancer in which a gene called EGFR has mutated.”


A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start

“Cancer is a disease of genes gone wrong. When certain genes mutate, they make cells behave in odd ways. The cells divide swiftly, they hide from the immune system that could kill them, and they gain the nourishment they need to develop into tumors.

“Scientists started identifying these cancer genes in the 1970s and their list slowly grew over the years. By studying them, scientists came to understand how different types of cancer develop and, in some cases, they were even able to develop gene-targeting drugs. Last May, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Tarceva to treat lung cancer in which a gene called EGFR has mutated.”


A Catalog of Cancer Genes That’s Done, or Just a Start

“Cancer is a disease of genes gone wrong. When certain genes mutate, they make cells behave in odd ways. The cells divide swiftly, they hide from the immune system that could kill them, and they gain the nourishment they need to develop into tumors.

“Scientists started identifying these cancer genes in the 1970s and their list slowly grew over the years. By studying them, scientists came to understand how different types of cancer develop and, in some cases, they were even able to develop gene-targeting drugs. Last May, for example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug known as Tarceva to treat lung cancer in which a gene called EGFR has mutated.”