Ovarian Cancer Drug Shows Promise for Patients with Advanced Peritoneal Cancers

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A fine particle reformulation of paclitaxel whose brand name is Nanotax is currently a standard treatment for ovarian cancer, but phase 1 research conducted by the University of Kansas Cancer Center has revealed potential for this drug to have positive results for patients with advanced peritoneal cancers.


The research is being led by Stephen Williamson, MD, medical director of Cancer Clinical Trials at the University of Kansas Cancer Center in Kansas City, Kansas. In the trial, whose primary purpose was to evaluate safety, patients with late-stage cancer received Nanotax at a high concentration for more than 4 weeks, 74% of the patients enrolled in the trial were diagnosed with ovarian cancer with tumors that had relapsed and metastasized in the peritoneum. Five of the 21 patients with late-stage disease survived more than 400 days after receiving treatment.


Nanotax is administered differently than regular paclitaxel, it is given as a bolus injection, a single large dosage injected directly into the peritoneum through a catheter, which exposes the tumors to higher concentrations of the drug compared with standard IV paclitaxel treatment. It is also predicted that there is a lack of major side effects associated with this treatment compared with regular paclitaxel that is mixed with ethanol and a castor oil derivative that patients may develop an allergy to based on the way in which it is administered.


Researchers are now looking to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin planning the next phases of testing and drug development.

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A repurposed drug saw positive results for patients with advanced peritoneal cancers.
A repurposed drug originally used to treat ovarian cancer saw positive results for patients with advanced peritoneal cancers during a phase I clinical trial at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The drug, known under the brand name Nanotax, is a fine particle reformulation of paclitaxel, the standard treatment for ovarian cancer. The drug was developed by Lawrence-based CritiTech, and the drug-testing and phase I clinical trial were conducted by KU Cancer Center researchers, led by Stephen Williamson, M.D., medical director of Cancer Clinical Trials.


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