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AZ's hormone resistant prostate cancer drug moves to phase III

AstraZeneca's investigational drug for hormone resistant prostate cancer, oral agent ZD054, will begin phase III trials before the end of 2007

AstraZenecaís (AZís) investigational drug for hormone resistant prostate cancer, oral agent ZD054, will begin phase III trials before the end of 2007.

AZ decided to move to phase III following survival data from a randomised Phase II study of ZD4054, its specific endothelin A (ETA) receptor antagonist.

The phase III trial will investigate the compound's role as monotherapy in patients with metastatic and non-metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer. The development programme will also examine ZD4054 in combination with Taxotere (docetaxel) in patients with hormone resistant metastatic prostate cancer.

ZD4054 works by specific blockade of the ETA receptor, which may lead to the inhibition of multiple processes in cancer such as tumour cell proliferation, tumour cell survival, tumour angiogenesis and the pathophysiology of bone metastases.  It does so without blocking the ETB receptor, which may provide beneficial biological effects in terms of encouraging apoptosis, the death of unhealthy cells.

AZ already has two other prostate cancer drugs on the market: Zoladex (goserelin), which was launched in 1987, and Casodex (bicalutamide), launched in 1995.

Prostate charity donates to research projects
In other news, for the first time The Prostate Cancer Charity is supporting seven new research projects, and has awarded nearly GBP 800,000 in total.

The Charity put out a national call for research proposals and received 49 requests for funding as a result.

All applications were peer reviewed by an international panel and a Research Advisory Committee made up of leading researchers, clinicians and men who have been affected by prostate cancer selected the strongest applications.

The grants were awarded to a range of projects, including basic research on the migration of prostate cancer cells in the body, and potential new treatments, translational research on possible ways to identify the cancerís aggressiveness and psychosocial research on meeting the needs of the people who care for men with prostate cancer. The projects are based in a range of academic centres across the UK.

ìAfter a strategic review of the Charityís research spending, we decided to disperse the grants throughout the UK and across the range of research need rather than focus all our concentration in one centre. We intend to invest at least a further GBP 500,000 in new research in March 2008 and will continue this programme annually. As funds grow, we will step up our research investment year on year,î said Dr Chris Hiley, the charityís head of policy and research management.

26th July 2007


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