UK markey cancer center receives FDA approval to test novel cancer drug

June 05, 2006

Tom Burke died of colon cancer only a few years ago, but not before he helped create a new drug to fight cancer. That drug, currently called DB-67, recently received approval from the FDA for its use to be studied in cancer patients. The Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital now has obtained Investigational New Drug status for DB-67 and will conduct the first clinical trials of this drug in cancer patients, which is set to begin later this summer.

Burke, who was a professor at the UK College of Pharmacy, developed the drug with Dennis Curran, a chemistry professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Burke and Curran had worked together to develop the next generation of a class of anticancer drugs that include the currently used drugs topotecan (ovarian and lung cancer) and irinotecan (colon cancer). At the time of DB-67's initial development and testing, pharmaceutical company Novartis licensed the drug. But after Burke died, the company released its licensing of DB-67, leaving the drug with a dismal future.

However, as a pediatric oncologist and director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at UK HealthCare's Markey Cancer Center, Dr. Jeffrey Moscow believed the drug had a future. With the enthusiastic support of Markey Cancer Center's director Dr. Alfred Cohen, Moscow put together a team of experts to complete all the necessary pre-clinical studies and to assemble the IND application package for the FDA so the drug could be used in a human clinical trial.

"Not many universities or cancer centers develop a new drug to the point of being able to test it in patients," Moscow said. "The UK Markey Cancer Center now has its own new and promising cancer drug."

Moscow said that while DB-67 is in the same class of other cancer-fighting drugs currently used, its structure is a bit different, making it unique and hopefully more potent. Pre-clinical testing of DB-67 showed that more of the drug's anti-cancer properties could be delivered to the body compared to other drugs currently used.

DB-67 will soon be given to patients for the first time during the first of three phases of the clinical development of the drug. The first phase will determine the correct dosage of the drug. It will be open to all adults with any cancer who do not have any other treatment options available. After the appropriate dosage is determined, phase two will be directed toward fighting individual types of cancers, but specifically brain tumors. If DB-67 is found to be as good as or better at fighting a specific type of cancer than currently approved drugs, it will move on to phase three where a much larger number of patients will be randomized to receive the drug so its effectiveness can be further tested.

If this phase is successfully completed, the drug could be granted a license to be prescribed in the treatment of cancer.
Support from the Kentucky Economic Development Commission of the Markey Cancer Center's Experimental Therapeutics Program also helped make possible DB-67's FDA approval and life thus far.

Several other key people involved in the drug's life to date include: The first phase of clinical trials for DB-67 are set to begin in August at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

University of Kentucky

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to