Bionomics, a biotechnology company, is planning clinical trials for its cancer treatment drug BNC105. Discussions with medical leaders in both Australia and the US have been undertaken by the company in an effort to prepare for upcoming trials. Currently undergoing testing for use on renal cancer and mesothelioma, Bionomics foresees use of BNC105 in treatment of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is considered the fifth leading cause of deaths amongst cancer cases in women. Although mesothelioma has historically affected more men than women, current mesothelioma patient demographics show that more women may now be at risk of mesothelioma.
Known for decades as an industrial disease, mesothelioma was associated with manufacturing labor, large refinery operations, shipbuilding and other such large-scale work arenas through much of the nineteen hundreds. These operations used asbestos either in process or as an additive for end products. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be mined from the earth. Although it has been used heavily in product development and construction, and continues to be used worldwide, it is known to cause rare cancer mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma affects an estimated twenty thousand people annually around the world. Characterized by a long latency period, mesothelioma patients do not usually know they are developing the disease for twenty to fifty years after original asbestos exposure. Once asbestos fibers are inhaled they can begin a mutation in otherwise healthy tissues. Most commonly occurring in protective lung lining, malignant mesothelioma tumors grow in irregular patterns without demonstrating external symptoms.
Proper diagnosis of mesothelioma typically follows display of bronchitis or pneumonia like symptoms. These symptoms do not show up until mesothelioma’s more aggressive stage, after the long latency period. Mesothelioma treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy; these are considered palliative, as there is no cure for mesothelioma. Average life expectancy following diagnosis is eighteen months.
Deborah Rathjen, Chief Executive of Bionomics, said of the upcoming trials, “It has always been Bionomics’ intention to initiate further clinical trials of BNC105. The decision to undertake a clinical trial in women with ovarian cancer has followed extensive consultation with key opinion leaders in Australia and the US.”
Bionomics drug BNC105 would be a welcome addition to mesothelioma treatment options. Mesothelioma case numbers are on the rise worldwide, with as many as ninety thousand cased expected annually if asbestos use continues to go unchanged.