Breakthrough cancer drug developed in the Triangle

Breakthrough cancer drug developed in the Triangle (Image 1)
Breakthrough cancer drug developed in the Triangle (Image 1)

A breakthrough in the fight against cancer is coming from a company based in the Triangle area.

G1 Therapeutics, which has received $33 million in venture capital, has designed a drug that helps chemotherapy patients maintain their bone marrow.

The Research Triangle Park company says that the drug, G1 T-28, could help save as many as 300,000 lives a year.

“Our drug stops the cells in the bone marrow from dividing while chemotherapy is killing the tumor,” said Dr. Mark Velleca, G1 Therapeutics’ chief executive officer. “Our approach protects the bone marrow from being damaged in the first place.”

While the drug hasn’t been give a brand name yet, this small company is making big waves in the world of oncology.

“This doesn’t happen very often to go from drug discovery all the way through clinic then to activity,” said research scientist John Bisi, who along with Jessica Sorrentino, has worked on the drug from the very beginning.

G1 T-28 will be taken 30 minutes before chemotherapy and with more bone marrow in tact, survival rates increase.

“The bone marrow gives rise to all of the cells of your blood and immune system, and that can really compromise chemotherapy’s efficacy,” Dr. Velleca said. “In our case it’s critically important that we’re targeting the bone marrow like we want without protecting the tumor.”

It will likely be three or four years before the drug makes it to the market.

Copyright 2015 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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