A new targeted treatment for ovarian cancer has shown “very promising” results in women in the advanced stages of the disease. It shrunk tumours in around half of women who took part in a small trial. Researchers had only been testing the drug to see if it was safe for humans to take, but found it had an almost instant clinical effect. It is hoped the drug could help women who have stopped responding to all other currently available treatments. So far, it has only been tested in 15 women, and the researchers say it may not be safe to take for more than a few months.  However, ovarian cancer is a difficult disease to treat, and the prognosis in the advanced stages is very poor. Marianne Heath, 68, one of the patients who received the drug, said: “I had no other treatment choices, so I felt this was my only option. “I just want to keep going so I can keep the tumours at a level where I can enjoy my life. It isn’t a cure, but it is life extension for me.” Marianne had treatment over six months, and the drug shrunk all three tumours in her body, taking away much of the pain she was experiencing.  One tumour – in her back – has started growing again since she stopped the treatment in January, and she is undergoing radiotherapy for that, but the others are stable The researchers, from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, wanted to establish whether the drug, known in the study as ONX-0801, was safe, so they tested it on a small number of patients.

 

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