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Home Industry News Merck reveals trial results for “new and promising” class of cancer drug

Merck reveals trial results for “new and promising” class of cancer drug

6th June 2006

Merck has announced the results of a “pivotal” phase II trial involving Zolinza, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, for use in patients with advanced, refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).

CTCL is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a slow-growing cancer where T-cells (which are ordinarily a vital part of the body’s immune system) become malignant and are drawn to the skin.

The company released the results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, which showed that 30 per cent of patients responded to treatment with Zolinza, as measured by the severity of the symptoms shown on the patients’ skin.

Elise Olsen, director of the CTCL clinic and research centre at Duke University’s medical centre, remarked: “These results provide additional evidence of the potential benefit of histone deacetylase inhibitors as a new and promising class of anticancer agents.”

The most common side effect reported during the trial were diarrhoea in 49 per cent of patients, fatigue, nausea, anorexia, dysgeusia and thrombocytopenia.

Cancer Research UK estimates that 4 in every million of the population are affected by the disease, most commonly between 40 and 60 years old. It is twice as common in men but it has no known cause.

It starts off with scaly red patches that may break down into tumours and then sores, before affecting the lymph nodes and the blood in later stages, if untreated.

However, a study from Stanford University’s school of medicine showed that patients who were treated in the first phase of the disease could expect an average survival rate of 32.5 years following diagnosis.

track© Adfero Ltd

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