A world-first study starting in Dunedin this month may
greatly reduce travel times for cancer patients, principal
investigator and Dunedin oncologist Christopher Jackson says.
The six patients taking part in the trial will take the drug
Oraxol, also known as Paclitaxel, in tablet form, instead of
If successful, patients could avoid weekly trips to hospital.
For those in far-flung areas, the potential travel savings
''Our patients travel from often great distances and the
burden of travel is considerable for many,'' Dr Jackson said.
''Until now, we have not been able to give Paclitaxel by
mouth because the body doesn't absorb it. This treatment may
Pharmaceutical company Kinex Pharmaceuticals is also carrying
out oral tests for the drug in Korea and the United States,
but those studies used different methodology.
''We are testing to ensure that the dose of chemo they are
receiving by mouth is equivalent to the dose they receive by
''This is an essential step before the drug can be considered
for registration and routine treatment in the clinic,'' Dr
The treatment, if successful, could be available within five
Dr Jackson thanked the University of Otago, the Southern
District Health Board, and the Dunedin oncology unit for
helping to establish the study.
In a statement announcing the trial, Kinex chief medical
officer Rudolf Kwan thanked Dr Jackson and Tak Hung, managing
director of Dunedin's Zenith Technology, which is partnering
Kinex for the trial.
''This is an important component of our global registration
strategy and is complementary to our clinical studies
conducted by our partner Hanmi Pharmaceuticals in Korea and
clinical studies conducted by Kinex Pharmaceuticals in the
United States,'' Dr Kwan said.
Dr Hung said Zenith was excited by the possibility it might
be part of developing the next generation of oncology drugs.
''We are also glad that New Zealand is taking the lead on
developing this exciting treatment, which if successful, will
benefit New Zealand patients first,'' Dr Hung said.