Endostatin is a new Mesothelioma medicine that may help patients. The results of a Phase I trial of Endostatin conducted at the University of Texas revealed promise for patients suffering from this cancer. Most significantly Endostatin was shown to be safer than many alternative therapies. It also showed some effectiveness in combating tumor growth and in two of the twenty five patients caused tumor shrinkage.
The results of the trial seemed to indicate that Endosatin may be safe for non-clinical use. In the trial, the drug exhibited few toxic side effects and was well tolerated by all the participants. The study also reported that the drug slowed the flow of blood in the body in proportion to dosage increases. This effect may be useful in limiting blood flow to tumors so that they become malnurished, stop growing, shrink or even disappear.
During the trial, Endostatin was injected intravenously and as the test went on dosages were increased. To monitor the pharmalogical effects of the drug and the progress of the patient, researchers conducted regular biopsies, PET scans, Computer Tomographies (CT) as well as physical exams. The patients that participated in the trial suffered from a range of cancer types including melanoma, head and neck cancer, renal cell carcinoma, colon cancer, breast cancer, and sarcoma. Though no patients with mesothelioma participated in the trial, researchers feel that Endostatin may hold promise for this type of cancer as well.
The participants of the trial were all patients that were being treated at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson previously. All had undergone standard therapy for their condition but treatment had been unsuccessful. Patient's interested in participating in similar studies should contact their treating physician to learn about the options.
How Endostatin Works: Anti-Angiogenesis
Endostatin is an anti-tumor drug that attacks a process called angiogenesis (sometimes also called an Angiogenic Inhibitor). Angiogenesis is the way that a tumor nourishes itself by forming a network of blood vessels. Essentially the tumor sends out signals that summon blood vessels to nourish them. With this nourishment the tumors grow (or metastasize) and eventually kill the patient. Endostatin is designed to disrupt angiogenesis so that tumors are eventually starved and die.
Until recently, Endostatin had only been tested on laboratory animals. It succeeded in reducing tumors in mice but had not been tested on humans. Currently Endostatin is being tested in clinical trials on terminally ill cancer patients and not long ago Phase I testing concluded at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. The results were generally positive. Endostatin caused few toxic side effects and caused tumor shrinkage in 8% of the participants.
At this writing, there are only three major clinics were Endostatin clinical trials are being conducted with patients: Dana Farber/Partners Cancer Care in Boston, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center in Madison. So far only phase one trials have been conducted and the sample group has been relatively small. Between the three cancer centers, only a 100 or so terminally ill cancer patients have undergone Endostatin treatment. So unfurtunately there are not many oppurtunities to participate in a clinical trial.
Like all Phase I trials, the trials have mostly been concerned with testing the safety of Endostatin. Nevertheless researchers have also paid close attention to Edostatin's anti-angiogenesis effect. All of the patients in the trial are late stage cancer patients so any slowing of the cancers progression as a result of anti-angiogenesis is regarded by researchers as a very encouraging sign. Therefore they have been pleased to see that between roughly 6-8% of the combined group have shown tumor shrinkage.
Since its earliest trials in laboratory mice, doctors and researchers have seen a great deal of potential in Endostatin as a less toxic alternative to conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The clinical trials have thus far shown Endostatin to be a safe drug and the medical community remains hopeful that further testing will not only strengthen this verdict, but show Edostatin to be an effective alternative to conventional treatments.
Researchers believe that Endostatin will be most effective treating fast growing cancers with tumors that rely on a larger number of blood vessels such as mesothelioma, renal cell carcinoma, melanoma and breast cancer.
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