Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at RH-1 for advanced solid tumours
This trial was looking at a new treatment called RH-1 for advanced solid tumours (not lymphoma or leukaemia). This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Most cancers are treated with standard treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy or biological therapy. But sometimes cancer comes back (recur) after treatment. When this happens they can be more difficult to treat because they often don’t respond well to standard treatments.
This trial was looking at a new drug called RH-1. The doctors hoped that RH-1 would be useful in treating cancers that were no longer responding to standard treatments.
RH-1 is called a ‘pro-drug’. This means that it cannot work until it combines with something else in the body. When RH-1 combines with a substance called DTD, it can start to work. DTD is produced in large amounts in some cancer cells.
When the RH-1 reaches cancer cells with a high level of DTD, it starts to work. The doctors hoped that RH-1 would kill these cancer cells.
The aim of this trial was to find the best dose of RH-1 to use. But this was a new and experimental treatment, and we didn’t know yet how well it would work.
Summary of results
The researchers learnt more about RH-1 and the side effects of different doses. But the cancer did not get smaller in any of the people in this trial.
The trial recruited 18 people. Starting with a low dose of RH-1, the researchers gave each person who entered the trial a higher dose. As they didn’t have too many bad side effects, 3 people were given the highest dose. This is called a ‘dose escalation’ study.
At the highest dose, some of the side effects were severe. And so, the researchers found that the dose below was the best dose to give.
The most common side effects that people did have were
After 2 cycles of treatment, the researchers looked at the effect RH-1 had on the cancer. They found that
- In 7 people, the cancer stayed the same size – researchers call this
- In the other 11 people, the cancer continued to grow
The researchers found the best dose of RH-1 to give that didn’t cause too many bad side effects. And they are now looking at doing more research into RH-1.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Malcolm Ranson
Cancer Research UK (Centre for Drug Development)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKD/03/041.