Cancer-fighting drug shows good trial results in Barcelona hospital study

Disease was stable and tumor growth stopped with 9 weeks of treatment in 8 of 12 patients

Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona on August 23, 2019 (by Joana Garreta)
Vall d'Hebron Hospital in Barcelona on August 23, 2019 (by Joana Garreta) / ACN
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 26, 2022 11:42 AM

October 26, 2022 12:31 PM

The first trial of the cancer-fighting drug Onomyc has recorded good results in Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron hospital. 

In the preclinical phase, it was shown that Omomyc, a therapeutic mini-protein developed at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), was able to enter cells and reach the nucleus in cancerous cells. The drug inhibits cancerous cells' ability to grow tumors.

The phase I clinical trial included 22 patients with solid tumors of the pancreas, intestines, and lungs who had all gone through between three and 13 previous treatments. 

In eight of the 12 patients who later had CT scans, the disease was found to be stable and tumor growth had stopped after 9 weeks of treatment.

Researchers at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and biotech company Peptomyc developed the therapeutic protein Omomyc earlier this year.

It is well known in the scientific community that the MYC gene is "implicated in almost all human cancers, and while its role as a promoter of tumorigenesis is beyond doubt, its function in the process of metastasis remains controversial," a press release by VHIO reads.

Over 20 years ago, Laura Soucek, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peptomyc, and a Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) Research Professor, began to focus her research on the MYC gene. From that work, she developed Omomyc.

The clinical trial began in April 2021 at the Molecular Cancer Therapy Research Unit of the VHIO. The director of the unit, Dr. Elena Garralda, said it was still too early to evaluate the activity of the drug but acknowledged that the stabilization of the disease is being observed in some patients. 

One of the cases that stands out is that of a pancreatic cancer patient who was part of the study for more than six months and in whom the tumor shrank by 8% as well as an 83% reduction in tumor-derived DNA that circulates in the bloodstream. 

There is also a patient with a salivary gland tumor whose disease is stable and is still in the study after 15 months, and a patient with sarcoma who had responded poorly to previous treatments and remained stable for eight months.

The trial also showed that the drug gives few side effects, and those that it does give are controllable. The most common were mild reactions to the intravenous infusion, such as chills, nausea, skin lesions, and low blood pressure. Higher dose levels were associated with more reactions but were easily treated.