CanBas Developing Mesothelioma Drug to Enhance Chemotherapy Treatment
CanBas Co., Ltd.,, a Japanese bio-pharmaceutical company that develops new cancer drugs that target the cell cycle, has received a boost from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in its research efforts to add to the arsenal of drugs available to fight malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lung and abdomen that affects about 3,000 people in the U.S. each year. The mortality rate for mesothelioma is high, so more effective treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer are needed to stop the progression of the disease.
The company’s lead product is a drug known as CBP501 that enhances the effectiveness of the mesothelioma chemotherapy drug Cisplatin, which is standard treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. CBP501, a synthetic peptide, enhances the toxicity of Cisplatin as it accumulates in mesothelioma tumors.
CanBas announced in January that the US FDA has granted orphan drug status to CBP501 for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. The designation qualifies the pharmaceutical company for financial incentives for the development of drugs used to treat rare diseases. Without such incentives, drug companies have difficulty justifying the investment of time and resources necessary to bring to market drugs used to treat rare diseases that may have only a limited demand and therefore limited profit.
Currently, a randomized clinical trial is underway comparing the results of patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma in the U.S., Russia and Argentina treated with the chemotherapy drugs Cisplatin/pemetrexed with and without the addition of CBP501.
Malignant mesothelioma symptoms usually don’t appear until decades after exposure to asbestos, typically 20 years to 50 years. Because mesothelioma is aggressive, doctors often do not diagnose a patient’s mesothelioma until the disease is well advanced.