Breaking barriers in cancer treatment: Race Oncology pioneers a new era with bisantrene

Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) had caught the eyes of HotCopper users pre-market on Tuesday as the company reported enhancement of its ability to kill cancer cells – to be further explored in a proposed Phase I/II leukaemia trial.

That enhancement came from studies looking at a combination of bisantrene and decitabine – both chemotherapeutic drugs, used together, are more effective at killing cancerous cells across “a broad panel of 143 tumour cell lines.”

Notably, it’s the combination of these drugs that’s proven to be more effective than either compound taken on its own. The cell lines tested came from over 20 different human tissue specimens.

Of the 143 different cell lines, the aforementioned combination showed “enhanced” cancer cell-killing properties in 131 out of 143 samples – 92%.

Meanwhile, 56% of cell lines “[showed] les than two-fold increases in activity for the combination, relative to bisantrene alone, and 36% showed up to 2-fold-improvements.”

A cohort of cell lines reflecting 8% of the overall set tested showed no improvement for the combination.

The in-house research on tissue samples to date, Race said, is applicable to solid tumours including cancers of the lung, prostate, pancreas, breast, head, and neck.

Management noted on Tuesday that decitabine is a well known chemo drug typically used in blood cancers, in combination with bisantrene, the haematological drug could be more widely used in the treatment of solid tumours as well as blood cancer.

“While decitabine has proven its effectiveness in haematological cancers, it has not demonstrated clinical utility in solid tumours, like lung or breast cancer,” Race chief Dr. Daniel Tillett said.

“This new body of work is highly supportive of the results from the University of Newcastle in preclinical AML models using a combination of bisantrene and decitabine.”

RAC closed at $1.55 on Monday.

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