Shares in Kazia Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: KZA) lifted today after news its investigational drug Paxalisib will be part of another study for the treatment of brain cancer. At market close, the Kazia share price is $1.40 – 6.87% higher than its previous closing price.
The investigation will see Kazia partnering with US-based Joan & Sanford I Weill Medical College at Cornell University in New York.
The two organisations will launch a phase II clinical study combining Paxalisib with ketogenesis, the body’s own metabolic process in breaking down fatty acids.
Kazia states the combination has the potential to treat symptoms of glioblastoma, a common and aggressive type of brain cancer.
It’s the ninth ongoing clinical study to involve Paxalisib.
New clinical study
Paxalisib has been developed as a treatment for glioblastoma. The drug is an inhibitor of the brain-penetrant PI3K pathway. Blocking the pathway has so far shown to effectively treat glioblastoma.
In the newly announced clinical trial, Paxalisib is being combined with the human body’s response to the ‘ketogenic diet’. It sees the body using proteins and fats instead of glucose as fuel for energy.
In metabolising fats and proteins, the human body breaks them down into ketones.
Tumour cells can’t metabolise ketones well, so cancers can effectively ‘starve’ on a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet also enhances the PI3K pathway.
Trial participants will also be given metformin, a drug that lowers insulin levels. Insulin has been shown to also enhance the PI3K pathway.
The study will involve around 32 patients. Of those, 16 will have previously been unsuccessfully treated with standard-of-care treatments for glioblastoma. The other 16 will have not only have undergone unsuccessful standard treatment, but their glioblastomas will have progressed through their treatment.
The primary endpoint will be progression-free survival at six months. The study will take approximately two years to complete.
Kazia will provide the drug and a financial grant for the study.
Kazia Therapeutics share price snapshot
The Kazia Therapeutics share price is performing well on the ASX lately.
Currently, it’s 20% higher than it was at the start of 2021. It’s also gained 250% since this time last year.
The company has a market capitalisation of around $185 million, with approximately 129 million shares outstanding.