The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London has reported promising results from a Phase I/II clinical trial involving a new drug obtained from oleic acid, 2-OHOA, for treating glioblastoma.

Oleic acid is naturally seen in animal and vegetable fats such as olive oil.

2-OHOA is a synthetic lipid derived from oleic acid and can hinder the growth of cancer cells by restructuring their abnormal membranes.

The drug is offered in a sachet and is administered with water three times a day. 

The multicentre, early-stage trial involved 54 patients with recurrent glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer and other advanced solid tumours.

It indicated that the drug could offer a new approach to combat glioblastoma.

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The trial showed that out of the 21 glioblastoma patients treated, approximately 24% responded to 2-OHOA.

Remarkably, one patient exhibited an exceptional response, maintaining it for over three years.

Funded by Laminar Pharmaceuticals, the trial is conducted at the Oak Foundation Drug Development Unit at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and ICR.

Based on these encouraging results, 2-OHOA is now advancing to an international, randomised Phase IIb/III trial aimed at newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients.

Subject recruitment in this trial is underway at The Royal Marsden enrolling over 200 patients.

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust consultant medical oncologist and Phase I/II trial lead Dr Juanita Lopez said: “Unfortunately, patients with brain cancer often don’t have the opportunity to participate in early phase trials.

“This underpins the vital importance of research into novel new drugs like 2-OHOA, which is designed from the same building blocks as olive oil. The drug works by reshaping the walls of cancer cells, blocking crucial growth signals that drive cancer.

“By including glioblastoma patients on this study, we were able to more quickly show early and hopeful results, supporting their inclusion in the Phase IIb/III trial.”