A experimental drug stopped the progression of cancer in 7 out of 10 patients while causing minimal side effects. The drug phenoxodiol was given to patients with a variety of cancers that failed standard chemotherapy drugs in a study done by the Ohio-based Cleveland Clinic.
Phenoxodiol belongs to a relatively new class of drugs known as signal transduction inhibitors, all designed to switch off certain cancer processes. Phenoxodiol was discovered by Novogen Ltd., Marshall Edwards' Australian parent company.
Phenoxodiol appears to work by inhibiting an enzyme that is vital for cancer growth. With the drug interfering with this enzyme rather than directly attacking cells, normal healthy cells are left untouched, reducing side effects. However, patients in the study did experience some nausea and fatigue.
"I am encouraged that this drug appears to have so few side effects," said Dr. Ronald Bukowski, director of experimental therapies at the Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Center. "We hope to get to the point where we can give patients enough medicine for it to be effective.