PharmAust commences next clinical phase of anti-cancer trial for pet dogs in NZ 

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canine cancer drug treatment
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Biotech company PharmAust is calling for pet dogs in New Zealand with newly diagnosed B cell lymphoma to participate in its Phase 2b clinical trial evaluating the anti-cancer properties of its lead drug monepantel (MPL). 

Lymphoma is a common and aggressive cancer diagnosed in dogs. Symptoms can include swellings (enlarged lymph nodes), lethargy, weight loss and loss of appetite. 

“There is no cure for B cell lymphoma at this time,” chief scientific officer of PharmAust Dr Richard Mollard said.  

“Usually, only 50 per cent of dogs with B cell lymphoma will survive without treatment for around 30 days and the other half will have progressive disease.” 

To date, pet dogs treated with MPL in Australia have enjoyed a high quality of life and significant anti-cancer outcomes while on trial. Following this success and to prepare for a trial to formally register MPL as an anti-cancer drug in pet dogs, PharmAust is now also conducting this clinical trial in NZ while completing late-stage preparations to similarly incorporate sites in the US. 

“Data from Phase 2 clinical trials to date have shown that MPL treatment stabilises B cell lymphoma, can make some lesions disappear, significantly prolongs the life of pet dogs and significantly improves the pet dogs’ quality of life,” Dr Mollard said. 

“Additionally, after the completion of the 28-day clinical trial period, and following consultation with their veterinarians, some owners have asked to continue the treatment of their pet dogs with monepantel in combination with standard-of-care prednisolone. 

“To date, PharmAust has been pleased to support continued treatment of eight dogs with this combination and see average life expectancy more than quadruple compared to untreated dogs and increase 2.5 times compared to dogs treated with standard-of-care prednisolone alone.

“We spent some time developing a safe and easy to take-at-home tablet for pet owners. At the recommended optimum dose, we see minimal side effects that might be attributable to MPL, with only some weight loss of approximately two per cent being reported for some dogs over the 28-day trial period.”

Dr Mollard added that the owners of pet dogs that continue on combination treatment with prednisolone really do not report any side effects even after six months. Normally one might expect some side effects from prednisolone alone, so this combination is very interesting and something that will be followed up on formally in the next trial.” 

Currently, the best indicated treatment option for B cell lymphoma is chemotherapy, which comes with its own set of limitations and adverse events, and unfortunately, relapse can occur within six to 12 months. 

PharmAust is now inviting more dogs in New Zealand with treatment naive lymphoma to help complete the final optimisation of the Phase 2 trial in a bridging program before moving onto a registration trial. 

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