Dogs with lymphoma are needed in Sydney, NSW to help evaluate a promising new anti-cancer drug!

During National Pet Cancer Awareness Month 2017, biotech company PharmAust puts the call out for dogs with lymphoma to help evaluate a new anti-cancer drug shown to be safe and effective in preliminary trials. The compassionate use program is a prelude to a multi-institutional canine cancer trial to start next year.

Leading veterinary cancer specialist Dr Angela Frimberger and her team at Veterinary Oncology Consultants are evaluating a drug called monepantel (MPL) in dogs that have been newly diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma and have not started any treatment.

MPL is already approved for veterinary use for a different indication and species.  PharmAust is aiming to repurpose MPL as a safe and effective cancer treatment.

“Four dogs have already been treated for lymphoma and the results have been very promising,” said Dr Frimberger. “So far, we have shown that MPL is safe, and three out of three dogs with B-cell lymphoma have had stabilisation of disease on the drug without significant side effects!”

PharmAust is inviting more dogs with lymphoma to complete the last phase of the program.

“PharmAust’s long-term strategy is to develop MPL to treat cancers in both dogs and humans,” said Richard Hopkins, CEO of PharmAust. “A ‘Phase I’ trial in human cancer patients at the Royal Adelaide Hospital showed that cancer markers in patients are significantly suppressed. Treatments that work effectively in canines are recognised as being highly predictive of the way drugs behave in human clinical trials. Trials undertaken using MPL in dogs will inform and accelerate parallel efforts to develop MPL as a human cancer therapy.”

Dogs with lymphoma MPL program entry criteria

The canine entry criteria for the present compassionate use program are:

  • Stage 1 to 3 lymphoma (based on physical exam)
  • Substage a
  • 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

“The treatment currently involves a relatively large number of capsules, so dogs that are difficult to orally medicate wouldn’t be great candidates,” said Dr Frimberger. “But we are working on reformulating the drug to make it better tasting and easier to administer to dogs before the full trials commence next year.”

The dogs with lymphoma MPL program involves:

  • two consultations/treatments at the Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) in Homebush, NSW.
  • Owners would have to transport their dogs to and from Homebush for the two treatments.
  • PharmAust will cover all compassionate use program costs, including travel expenses to and from the ARH, as well as costs for the initial conventional chemotherapy treatment upon program completion.

For more information or to enrol, please contact Dr Angela Frimberger on [email protected]

 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 which is forecast to generate ~Aus$4m in revenues in the 2018 FY.

PAA’s lead drug candidate is monepantel (MPL), a novel, a 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.

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