Melbourne biotechnology company QUE Oncology has announced that the Royal North Shore Hospital is actively seeking patients for a clinical study, which will see its novel non-hormonal therapy tested on women with breast cancer to prevent debilitating hot flushes and night sweats.
Breast cancer survivors are routinely prescribed drugs which reduce or block the action of oestrogen, a hormone that can stimulate the growth of breast cancers. However, reducing oestrogen in women increases the likelihood and intensity of debilitating hot flushes and night sweats, with some women facing more than 20 events in one day, seriously impacting their quality of life.
QUE Oncology has developed a drug, Q-122, to address this unmet clinical need. Q-122 has been developed as a supportive therapy to assist women undergoing endocrine treatment, who experience hot flushes and night sweats and is currently in Phase II trials.
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney and lead investigator Professor Rodney Baber AM says up to 80 per cent of women undergoing long-term preventative breast cancer treatment can suffer hot flushes and night sweats.
“Most people don’t fully understand the significant impact of hot flushes and night sweats on these women, but they can be debilitating and negatively affect the overall quality of life for women already impacted by breast cancer. Current methods for treating side effects are here is a desperate need for new treatments, and this trial will allow New South Wales women to contribute to the development of one of the most cutting-edge supportive therapies currently in development.”
“We are seeking 15-20 patients who are currently undergoing endocrine therapy, and suffer from hot flushes and night sweat episodes, to come and take part in the Sydney trial,” Prof Baber says.
The Royal North Shore Hospital, in conjunction with The University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health is one of seven Australian trial sites participating in the Phase II trial. The trial, which will see the drug’s efficacy tested, is also taking place in leading hospitals and cancer centres across the United States and New Zealand.
As October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is a timely opportunity to draw attention to this little-known condition suffered by breast cancer survivors and the impact it can have on their quality of life.
After a diagnosis of breast cancer, women are routinely prescribed drugs such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors (known as endocrine therapy) which reduce or block the action of oestrogen a hormone known to stimulate the growth of breast cancer. However, the side effect of reducing oestrogenis an increased likelihood of moderate to severe hot flushes and night sweats. These symptoms can severely impact a women’s general wellbeing and often cause women to discontinue their cancer drugs.
Previous trials with Q-122 have shown an excellent safety profile in over 60 patients and healthy volunteers. In a previous Phase 1b trial in women undergoing oestrogen reduction therapy for breast cancer, 85 per cent of women showed a reduction in both the frequency and severity of their hot flushes.
QUE Oncology Chief Executive Officer Dr Rob Crombie says, “We know that up to 50 per cent of women undergoing endocrine treatment stop taking their drugs due to the severe side effects. This carries risk, as ceasing endocrine therapy after a diagnosis of breast cancer means there is a chance the cancer can return. There is therefore an urgent need for a supportive therapy to substantially improve the quality of life for women on long-term endocrine therapy, which can typically last for five to ten years.”
QUE Oncology’s products also have the potential to expand into related conditions, such as hot flushes associated with menopause, and hot flushes experienced by men undergoing prostate cancer treatment.
Women interested in participating in QUE Oncology’s clinical trials should visit www.queoncology.com