Animal Referral Hospital Brisbane

Anti-cancer drug clinical trial starting at ARH Brisbane

ARH Brisbane is calling for dogs with B cell lymphoma to help evaluate a newly formulated anti-cancer drug shown to be safe, effective and tasty for dogs. This comes following a successful compassionate use trial of the same drug, Monepantel (MPL).

Lymphoma is a common cancer diagnosed in dogs. Symptoms can include swellings (enlarged lymph nodes), lethargy, weight loss and loss of appetite. Currently, there is no cure for B cell lymphoma and it is rapidly fatal without treatment.

Five veterinary trial centres are set up in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia to evaluate MPL in dogs that have been newly diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma and have not started any other treatment. MPL is already approved for veterinary use for a different indication and species. Biotech company , PharmAust, is aiming to repurpose MPL as a safe and effective cancer treatment.

The initial trial in pet owner’s dogs with cancer was very successful. Six of seven dogs achieved stable disease over the prescribed 14-day trial period, with six of seven dogs also showing reductions in their tumour sizes. Furthermore, no safety issues were encountered by the use of Monepantel as an anti-cancer therapeutic agent in these dogs.

The original formulation used to dissolve the drug, however, had a very poor taste, which made it difficult for pet owners to administer the capsules to their dogs. PharmAust is now conducting a repeat of the same trial with a better formulation, for a longer time period and in more trial centres.

We would like to see dogs doing well over the first 28-day period, then three and six months, and longer. If this trial is a success, it means that going forward, owners of pet dogs with B cell lymphoma will be given a greater choice of treatment options for their dogs. PharmAust would like to see dogs feeling considerably better, with tumours either disappearing or stabilised.

Which dogs with lymphoma are eligible?

Dogs can have any stage of lymphoma but must be feeling generally well. Ultimately the patient will only be given the treatment if they have B cell lymphoma but immunophenotyping (analysis of heterogeneous populations of cancer cells) is covered as part of the initial screening.

Program entry criteria

The dog entry criteria for the new clinical trial program is:

  • Any stage of lymphoma (based on physical exam)
  • Substage A (feeling well)
  • Immunophenotype can be pending but must be submitted, and needs to be B-cell based on clinical characteristics
  • No previous treatment, including corticosteroids (prednisolone)
  • No other significant concurrent medical problems
  • Good quality of life.
  • Owners would have to transport their dogs to the centre and pay the cost for initial consultation for diagnosis. Once your pet is diagnosed with lymphoma, PharmAust will cover all clinical trial costs, including travel expenses to and from the trial centre as well as post trial maintenance treatment if both pet owners and vets consider this might be beneficial.

Participating in the program

Pet owners interested in enrolling their dog in the MPL trial need to contact their veterinarian for a referral to their nearest trial centre.

Veterinarians wanting to refer patients please contact Dr Kathleen O´Connell, K.OConnell@arhvets.com or (07) 3172 0593.

About PharmAust

PAA is a clinical-stage company developing targeted cancer therapeutics for both humans and animals. The company specialises in repurposing marketed drugs lowering the risks and costs of development. These efforts are support by PAA’s subsidiary, Epichem, a highly successful contract synthetic drug manufacturer. PAA’s lead drug candidate is Monepantel (MPL), a novel, potent and safe inhibitor of the mTOR pathway – a key driver of cancer. MPL has been evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials in humans and dogs. MPL treatment was well-tolerated and produced a significant reduction in key prognostic biomarkers. PAA is uniquely positioned to commercialise MPL for treatment of human and veterinary cancers as it advances the drug into Phase 2 clinical trial. To discover more, visit www.pharmaust.com

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