UK Scientists Develop New “Wonder” Drug That Offers Breakthrough Treatment Of Deadly Cancer

Updated: February 16, 2024 14:29 pm IST

Scientists in the United Kingdom have unveiled a groundbreaking new drug that promises hope for patients battling a hard-to-treat and aggressive form of cancer. According to reports from The Guardian, researchers at Queen Mary University London have developed a revolutionary treatment that has shown remarkable results in treating mesothelioma, a cancer primarily caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma, which predominantly affects the lining of the lungs, is notorious for its aggressiveness and low survival rates. However, the new drug, described as a “wonder” treatment, has shown promising outcomes, quadrupling three-year survival rates and extending average survival by 1.6 months. Notably, this breakthrough marks the first successful combination of chemotherapy with a drug targeting cancer’s metabolism developed for mesothelioma in two decades.

The findings, published in the prestigious journal JAMA Oncology, reveal the success of the drug ADI-PEG20 (pegargiminase) in cutting off the tumor’s food supply, hindering its growth. Led by Professor Peter Szlosarek at Queen Mary University, the international trial involved patients from five countries— the US, the UK, Australia, Italy, and Taiwan.

During the study, half of the participants received the new drug alongside chemotherapy, while the other half were administered a placebo. The results, drawn from a cohort of 249 individuals with pleural mesothelioma, demonstrated significant improvements in survival rates among those who received pegargiminase-chemotherapy compared to the placebo-chemotherapy group.

“The pegargiminase-chemotherapy combination significantly increased the median overall survival by 1.6 months and quadrupled the survival at 36 months compared to placebo-chemotherapy,” stated the authors of the study. Moreover, the new drug was well-tolerated with no new safety concerns reported.

“This discovery is something I have been driving from its earliest stages in the lab, with a new treatment, ADI-PEG20, now improving patient lives affected by mesothelioma,” remarked Professor Szlosarek, expressing his excitement at witnessing the fruition of years of research into arginine starvation therapy for cancer cells.

The success of this groundbreaking treatment offers a glimmer of hope for thousands of individuals worldwide battling mesothelioma, paving the way for more effective and targeted therapies in the fight against cancer.

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