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5 Aug 2013

Anti metastasis drug tested in clinical trial

The drug may prevent metastasis by inhibiting the migratory processes in epithelial cells.

Pharmaceutical company BerGenBio AS is planning a phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a potential new anticancer drug called BGB324.

The oral drug inhibits AXL tyrosine kinase, an enzyme which is involved in cell proliferation and thus the over-multiplication characteristic of cancerous cells.

It achieves this by blocking the function of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) a process by which cells lose their adhesion to each other and begin to migrate.

The process in diseased populations results in the spread of cancer around the body, which can result in the formation of tumours in other regions.

Metastasised cancer can result in a poorer quality of life for the patient, and is more difficult to treat, so its prevention is hugely advantageous.

Richard Godfrey, chief executive of BerGenBio, said: "Our extensive preclinical data suggest that BGB324 has wide therapeutic potential to address a range of clinically-challenging cancers."

Experimenters are hoping to demonstrate the drug's ability to inhibit AXLby analysing pharmacodynamic assays which monitor biomarker levels to quantify response.

Demonstrating the safety of BGB324 is also crucial, since exhibition of serious side effects may impede the manufacturer's ability to continue trials.

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