Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) has announced preclinical research has found its drug Zantrene is able to protect heart muscle cells from death while improving the killing of breast cancer cells when used in combination with chemotherapy.
The company said this is the first time a drug has demonstrated the ability to both target the cancer and protect the heart from anthracycline damage.
"This discovery offers new hope to the millions of cancer patients worldwide who undergo chemotherapy with anthracyclines and are at risk of serious and permanent damage to their hearts," it said.
Anthracyclines (chemotherapy) are widely recognised as highly effective anti-cancer treatments and are used in the treatment of leukemias, lymphomas, neuroblastoma, kidney, liver, stomach, uterine, thyroid, ovarian, sarcomas, bladder, lung and breast cancers.
Race said its discovery has the potential to revolutionise the use of anthracyclines by allowing oncologists to use these powerful drugs to their full anti-cancer potential without fear of permanent damage to the heart.
The Zantrene heart safety research program is being led by cardiotoxicity researchers, Associate Professors Aaron Sverdlov and Doan Ngo, in collaboration with cancer scientist Associate Professor Nikki Verrills, at The University of Newcastle.
Associate Professor Aaron Sverdlov said, “To date, the concept of potential cancer therapies that are not only non-cardiotoxic but, in fact, cardio-protective has not been evaluated or even entertained, largely due to ‘disease-specific’ approaches in healthcare.
"Our results suggest that Zantrene, an effective anti-cancer medication, can concomitantly provide protection against toxic effects on the heart from one of the most commonly used chemotherapy agents, doxorubicin."
Associate Professor Sverdlov continued, "This has the potential to improve health outcomes for countless cancer patients and survivors by both improving their cancer treatment while preventing development of cardiovascular disease.”