Adding in a small molecule enzyme inhibitor to cancer chemotherapy could improve treatment of glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer, according to U.S. preclinical research published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Glioblastomas are aggressive brain tumors and people may only have an average survival rate of 15 to 18 months. One of the standard treatments is Temodar (Merck and Bayer's temozolomide), but the tumors often develop resistance. Combination therapies that could reverse this would have a huge impact on outcomes and quality of life for patients and could cut costs for healthcare providers.
CFAK-Y15, developed by U.S.-based CureFAKtor Pharmaceuticals, inhibits focal adhesion kinase (FAK), an enzyme that is overexpressed in cancer cells. Mice with glioblastoma that were treated with CFAK-Y15 lived longer than the control animals, and in some cases their tumors shrank, especially when given in combination with temozolomide.
"We're eager to see this research move to the clinical phase because of the great need for more effective treatments for glioblastoma," says senior author William G. Cance of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and interim CEO at CureFAKtor. "The potential impact is great because glioblastomas are such an aggressive tumor, and because we know they produce FAK in especially high quantities."