An Australian drug that treats stage 4 cancer has been fast-tracked for approval in the US. The drug, called Venetoclax, is described as being ‘like taking panadol’ and attacks specific biological factors such as cell-structure mutations.
Professor John Seymour who helped oversee the drug trials said “Cells, when they are born, are destined to die and cancer cells and particularly leukaemia cells delay that death by using a protein called BCL2 that stops the normal time of death.
“Venetoclax works by specifically blocking the action of that BCL2 and allows the cells to die in the way that they were destined to.”
In the trials, four out of five patients had a positive result. One of those chosen to undertake a trial was Robert Olak who suffered chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Within a year, he was in remission. He told 7.30 “It was amazing…it causes no side-effects. Nothing, absolutely nothing.”
According to Cancer Research UK, one person dies from cancer every four minutes in the UK. If the drug is approved here, it could increase cancer survival up from 50%.