Early results in the Phase 2 GALAHAD clinical trial for the anti-cancer drug Zejula show promise in treating patients suffering from specific types of prostate cancer.
So Far, So Good
According to Janssen Research and Development, the company behind the clinical trial of new anti-cancer drug Zejula, early results have shown that patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and with mutations to a specific subset of tumor suppression genes have responded well to treatment with the medication. Zejula, which is also known as niraparib, is already in use as an anti-cancer drug for treating ovarian cancer; this new clinical trial is meant to determine how effective the medication is for treating this highly specific subset of prostate cancer.
How promising are these results? Janssen says that Zejula reduced the tumors of 38 percent of patients that had specific mutations to either their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which have been previously identified as being linked to tumor growth. Treatment with niraparib was also found to increase composite response rate by 62 percent, a combined measurement of tumor reduction, tumor cell circulation quantity, and prostate-specific antigen level decline of 50 percent or more.
Better Treatment Methods in the Future
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer is, as its name implies, one of the most difficult types of prostate cancer to treat effectively. Thanks to its resistance to typical medications and the fact that it is inclined to spread cancer cells beyond the prostate, being diagnosed with this aggressive cancer often means there are few treatments available, like surgery or radiation therapy.
Yet niraparib’s early successes in treating this type of cancer, especially among patients with BRCA1/2 gene mutations, is promising. Identifying that Zejula works well to reduce the spread of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in these patients may not only lead to the drug being cleared to treat prostate cancer but also flag new avenues for research with other medications that act in similar ways. The end result is that this clinical trial may lead to better treatment methods in the future, which will help save the lives of cancer patients as well as improve their quality of life while undergoing treatment.