KB004 (Ifabotuzumab), a drug developed by leading Australian
doctors and scientists, represents an exciting new approach in the treatment of
brain cancers by targeting a protein on the cancer cells called EphA3.
The drug has already been shown to be safe and have
potential benefits in the treatment of leukaemia. This new trial represents a
major step towards tackling brain cancer, which has a stagnant and unacceptably
low survival rate and takes the lives of over 1200 Australians every year.
The study will take place at Austin Health (Olivia
Newton-John Centre) and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. This clinical
trial was made possible by a grant of $500,000 from Cure Brain Cancer
Foundation, and was awarded following a competitive process. The drug is
provided by Humanigen, a U.S. biotech company based in the San Francisco area.
‘This study gives hope to patients with glioblastoma, which
is the most common form of adult brain cancer and one with a terrible prognosis,’
said Associate Professor Hui Gan, who will lead the trial at ONJ Cancer
‘This is the first EphA3-targeting drug for glioblastoma,
and represents an exciting new approach to the treatment of brain tumour
patients. It also shows the power of what can be achieved by close
collaboration between doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and
KB004 (Ifabotuzumab) was created as the result of a
collaboration between Professor Andrew Scott (Olivia Newton-John Cancer
Research Institute), Professor Andrew Boyd (QIMR Berghofer) the late Professor
Martin Lackmann (Monash University), and subsequently with US company
“Collaboration is key to meeting the challenge of brain
cancer. This cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and
more people under 40 than any other cancer,’ Associate Professor Gan said. ‘It
is our mission to help people live better with cancer and defeat it, and we are
optimistic that KB004 can help us achieve that.’
“The need for more effective treatments for glioblastoma is
starkly apparent”, Michelle Stewart, CEO Cure Brain Cancer Foundation said.
“This trial is an important step towards finding effective treatment for people
living with brain cancer. Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is proud to support this
innovative Australian research.”
- The clinical trial begins this month at the Olivia
Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Austin Health. The Royal Brisbane and
Women’s Hospital will also be conducting the trial, which utilises world-class
expertise in nuclear imaging at both sites.
- The new drug, KB004 (Ifabotuzumab), is an antibody which
targets a protein called EphA3 on the surface of cancer cells and surrounding
blood vessels. Its advantage is that it does not target normal healthy brain
tissue or blood vessels.
- KB004 was developed in Australia by Australiab scientists,
and is further evidence of the groundbreaking work undertaken in this country
to target cancers.
- The trial will
confirm the safety of KB004 and determine the best close to effectively
penetrate brain tumours.
- The clinical team of Associate Professor Hui Gan and
Professor Andrew Scott from Olivia Newtown-John Research Institute, together
with professor Andrew Boyd and Associate Professor Byran Day from the QIMR
Berghofer will utilise patient data and tissues acquired through the trial to
continue the development of EphA3-targeting drugs.A
- A total of 12 patients will participate in the trial. In
order to be eligible for the trial, patients must have recurrent glioblastoma
(GBM), and have had only one type of chemotherapy for their disease recurrence.
This article was originally published on the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation's site. You can read the original article here.