“Cancer has no geographic boundaries,” said Dr. Tolcher, CEO and founder of NEXT Oncology. “One of the continuing challenges has been that cancer research has been conducted in silos. Our goal has always been to break down those barriers and bring potentially life-saving therapies to people in other cities within Texas, while at the same time expediting the development of new therapies for the treatment and eventual cure of cancer.”
For this very reason, NEXT Oncology opened its latest expansion clinic in the greater Dallas metropolitan area. NEXT Dallas’ clinical director, Dr. Shiraj Sen, believes NEXT Oncology is the perfect place to compassionately improve outcomes for patients with cancer, now and in the future. The clinic opened its doors in April and in May enrolled the patient in a clinical trial for a drug called ABM-168, which is a brain penetrant MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase) inhibitor.
Historically, getting targeted therapies to cross the blood brain barrier and demonstrate efficacy in brain metastases has been challenging.
“We are privileged to be able to offer our patients trials with novel drugs engineered specifically to attempt to overcome this limitation of our currently approved therapies,” Dr. Sen said. “Phase I oncology trials are an important step in the drug development process. At this time, the drug is in the dose escalation phase. In this phase of the trial, we are able to offer the drug to appropriate individuals with any solid tumor cancer.”
MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase), a key kinase of the MAPK pathway, is frequently activated in various cancers, including those with RAS mutations. These mutations are present in 20% of human cancers and 20-30% of NSCLC. ABM-168, a novel small molecule MEK inhibitor developed by ABM, exhibits good water solubility, high cell permeability and brain penetration. Preclinical studies have clearly demonstrated its anti-cancer properties, particularly in intracranial animal models.
Published pre-clinical data have demonstrated that this drug, administered orally once daily in a treatment cycle of 28 days, is safe and able to shrink tumors in intracranial xenograft animal models significantly more than currently approved MEK inhibitors in tumors harboring specific mutations. Based on this, the hope is that in people the drug will also be safe and hopefully effective.
NEXT-Dallas has a number of other trials already open and available to offer individuals with advanced cancer. These span a variety of innovative ways to target cancer through novel targeted therapies (targeting the DNA damage response pathway, MTAP, and MDM2), novel immune-based therapies (targeting siglec-15, CD163, DDR, VISTA, PVR, CD47), and more. We continue to review more clinical trial options weekly and plan to continue to increase the trials we offer as our clinic continues to grow.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Phase I oncology trials at NEXT-Dallas or any of our other locations, please contact us.