Cancer Research UK drug enters final trials

In collaboration with the Press Association

A cancer drug developed from discoveries made by Cancer Research UK scientists is entering the final stages of clinical trials for renal cell carcinoma, an aggressive form of kidney cancer.

TroVax provides a new approach to treating cancer, by harnessing the patient's own immune system to fight the disease.

The treatment exploits the fact that a protein, known as 5T4, is expressed on the surface of the cells of a number of tumours - including on approximately 90 per cent of renal cell carcinomas - but not on healthy cells.

By injecting the gene for 5T4 within a harmless strain of a virus in to a patient's muscle tissue, TroVax encourages the immune system to attack any cells with 5T4 on their surface.

This should lead to the cancer cells being killed without any immune system side effects.

The drug is based on discoveries made by Cancer Research UK's Paterson Institute for Cancer Research and has so far been used with a 95 per cent success rate among 150 patients.

"We're very pleased that TroVax has entered phase III clinical trials for treating kidney cancer," said manager of clinical trials at Cancer Research UK, Dr Dalijit Kaur.

"The data so far suggests TroVax could be an effective treatment for several types of cancer, including kidney cancer, which affects more than 6,600 people each year in the UK."