• Three clinical trials started at the Medical University of Vienna
• Commissioned by multinational pharmaceutical firms
Vienna, 29 March 2010 – The Medical University of Vienna has been commissioned by international pharmaceutical firms to conduct three clinical trials of the treatment of recurrent prostate tumors (hormone refractory prostate carcinomas). The new approaches comprise immunotherapy, hormone therapy and an augmented form of the current standard treatment with docetaxel.
Team leader Prof. Dr. Michael Krainer and his colleagues will concentrate primarily on tumors diagnosed late or those which recur after surgical interventions, and which do not (or no longer) respond to common treatments such as androgen deprivation.
The team will investigate the use of the monoclonal antibody ipilimumab as part of the immunotherapeutic treatment. This antibody can cause the body’s own immune system to react against cancer cells. Prof. Krainer said that “the use of ipilimumab rather than docetaxel has led to rather surprising successes during the past year in a small-scale trial. In three patients, a tumor that had been hard to treat became so small that it could be surgically removed. Since a small-scale trial of this nature only allows limited claims to be made about the drug, ipilimumab is now being investigated further in a larger study.”
A hormone treatment based on the drug MDV3100 is also being trialed by the team at the Medical University of Vienna. This is used as a second-line treatment after the initial treatment with docetaxel. MDV3100 is a substance that blocks the androgen receptor and thus offers a new approach to the prevention of hormone dependent tumor growth.
AUGMENTED STANDARD TREATMENT
In the past, Prof. Krainer and his team were able to show the efficacy of docetaxel versus other common chemotherapeutic drugs. The third trial at the Medical University of Vienna will test the combination of docetaxel with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib. As part of the trial, the researchers will examine biomarkers in the patients’ blood that will yield information about the progress of the treatment.
TOP QUALITY RESEARCH IN AUSTRIA
“We are delighted that multinational pharmaceutical companies find in Austria the optimal environment and competent partners for clinical trials and basic research”, said Dr. René Siegl, Managing Director of the Austrian investment promotion company ABA-Invest in Austria. “This shows that the conditions at the location Austria are ideal”. More than 15 percent of Austrian R&D expenditure comes from foreign commissions. With 2.73 percent of the GNP in 2009 being spent on research, Austria has closed the gap with other European countries at the forefront of innovation. The aim is a research quota of 4 percent by 2020. In future Austria will create even greater incentives for businesses to attract innovation centers and will further develop collaborative endeavors between the scientific and business worlds.
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