A new cancer drug with no side effects and an 80 percent success rate in treating patients has gotten fast track approval in the U.S. reported7.30. The drug, Venetoclax, functions by using the immune system to attack cancer cells.
According to7.30, Robert Oblak, who had cancer of the blood and bone marrow, was chosen for the Venetoclax trial in 2013. "It causes no side-effects. Nothing, absolutely nothing," he said. "Quite amazing. So even when it's killing cells, you feel great."
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Professor John Seymour, who oversaw the Venetoclax trial, explained how the Australian developed drug worked.
"Cells, when they are born, are destined to die and cancer cells and particularly leukaemia cells delay that death by using a protein called BCL2 that stops the normal time of death," 7.30 reported. "Venetoclax works by specifically blocking the action of that BCL2 and allows the cells to die in the way that they were destined to."
Patients' responses to the trial were overwhelmingly positive, though there were negative responses. 7.30 reported four out of five patients had "positive" responses, while one in five patients went into remission. Despite being developed in Australia, Venetoclax isn't yet available there.
Venetoclax comes from the area of cancer research called immunotherapy. The field saw another leap forward this year when scientists reported being close to creating a universal cancer vaccine.