A new class of drugs called HIF-2 inhibitors is more effective and better tolerated than the standard of care drug sunitinib in treating kidney cancer, researchers with the Kidney Cancer Program at Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center have found. HIF-2 inhibitors, which grew out of research begun more than 20 years at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, work by interfering with processes that fuel the growth of cells. Investigators conducted a pre-clinical trial in mice transplanted with kidney cancer from over 20 patients and showed that the HIF-2 inhibitor PT2399 controlled cancer in half of the tumors, according to a study published online on September 5, 2016 in Nature. The Nature article is titled “Targeting Renal Cell Carcinoma with a HIF-2 antagonist.” "This is a completely new treatment for kidney cancer. We want to make HIF-2 inhibitors available to patients and are currently carrying out clinical trials," said Dr. James Brugarolas, Director of the Kidney Cancer Program, who is leading an $11 million SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute seeking to translate new discoveries into novel therapies for kidney cancer patients. Part of the SPORE grant, one of just two directly related to kidney cancer in the nation, is focused on further researching HIF-2 inhibitors. In a previous report, Dr. Kevin Courtney, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and a coauthor of the current study, reported at the American Association of Clinical Oncology annual meeting that HIF-2 inhibitors were safe in patients and had activity even in heavily pre-treated patients. In the current study in Nature, investigators show that HIF-2 inhibition was able to control metastatic kidney cancer even after seven lines of prior therapy (see video at link belowd).
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