Genoscience Pharma has commenced dosing patients in a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of GNS561for the treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a common type of primary liver cancer.

GNS561 is a newsolute carrier transporter (SLCT) inhibitor that shows the potent antitumour activity against a range of human cancer cell lines, including HCC.

To be carried out in Europe and the US, the trial will examine the safety, activity and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of escalating doses of GNS561.

The trial will enrol up to 36 patients in six cohorts during the dose escalation phase.

"This clinical programme will provide a wealth of valuable additional knowledge and data to drive our platform of metal transporter modulators."

It will also enrol additional patients in the continuation phase to include a total of 20 evaluable subjects at the recommended dose.

Belgium-based Jules Bordet Cancer Institute medical oncology head Ahmad Awada will lead the trial, while US-based Memorial Sloan Kettering professor Ghassan Abou Alfa is co-principal investigator.

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Genoscience Pharma president and CEO Philippe Halfon said: “This clinical programme represents a paradigm shift for our company; it will provide a wealth of valuable additional knowledge and data to drive our platform of metal transporter modulators towards various clinical applications for cancer therapy.”

Currently, more than 780,000 new cases of cancer are estimated to be diagnosed annually, with liver cancer being the fifth most common cancer worldwide.

Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally, accounting for around 746,000 deaths annually.

HCC is reported to be the most common form of liver cancer, making up 90% of the total cases of liver cancer diagnosed worldwide.