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Breakthrough cancer drug unlike anything else on the market
December 7, 2015

Alicia Neaves, KENS 5

SAN ANTONIO -- A new drug used right here in San Antonio could change the way we treat brain, kidney and liver cancer.

Inventors are working to eliminate the side effects of chemotherapy, and make this new, breakthrough drug the first treatment a cancer patient will get.

It's called Mipsagargin.

Right now, it's finishing up phase 2 of clinical trials, and this drug is unlike anything else out there.

In one dose, tumors are shrinking in patients that only had a few months to live.

The beauty of this drug is we took a blank sheet of paper and said, 'What do we know about cancer? How would we design something?' and that's how this approach came about, said Dr. Craig Dionne, CEO of GenSpera, the creator of Mipsagargin.

Dr. Dionne is part of an international collaboration that created Mipsagargen. It uses a toxin from a plant used by the ancient Greeks in all sorts of folk remedies.

The drug works like a grenade. It travels through the blood stream and only activates when it spots the tumor, minimizing the side effects.

There's no hair loss, there's no effect on the bone marrow, there's no anemia, no immunosuppression. It's unlike standard chemotherapy in that regard, said Dionne.

Mipsagargen is taken by IV for one hour, three days in a row, every month.

Patients who responded to the drug had what's called a PSMA protein in their tumor. The drug has worked when all else has failed, which sparked the idea to cut out the middle man.

We want to move the drug earlier and earlier in the disease so it's the first drug patients get. Instead of putting them through this really awful side effects of typical chemotherapy. Let's eliminate that and use our drug instead, said Dionne.

Doctors reported back with unbelievable results.

"The cancer had metastasized to the spinal column. The patient was in severe pain in a wheelchair for the first three months. Month four, he's walking in, no wheelchair, no cane, no pain," said Dionne.

The patient that we had in liver cancer, it's now over three years since he started the study, his tumors were growing. He was on the one approved drug, and within three months they had doubled in size. He has come on our study and it's completely stopped, he added.

With these findings showing promise, the next step is proving their drug works on the bulk of the patients in the study.

Dr. Dionne says over the next few months, they can develop similar drugs to help battle other tumors.

Keep in mind that patients who have prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer have that "PSMA" protein that reacts to the drug as well.

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