Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug developed by Zhang Xiaokun’s research team for treatment of intermediate and advanced colorectal cancer, allowing the drug to be tested in humans. The clinical trials are to be conducted by a research institute of the Harvard Medical School.
The novel drug is the brainchild of the research team headed by Professor Zhang Xiaokun, Dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of XMU. Upon approval of FDA on Dec. 30 last year, the drug will have to enter into the phase of clinical trials before it is permitted to go into the market. Based on the previous animal testing, this drug is also found effective in treating stomach and breast cancers.
It is learned that current colorectal treatments largely rely on surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, targeted therapy drugs are scanty, especially the low-molecular ones that could be taken orally. According to Prof. Zhang, what they have developed is a kind of oral low-molecular anti-cancer drug with higher efficacy but lower toxicity, which could effectively inhibit the growth of tumor cells and induce apoptosis.
It has taken six years for Zhang’s team to proceed from theoretical and fundamental researches to the current clinical testing. Prof. Zhang noted that the marketing of the new drug would hinge upon the progress of clinical trials and funding. “The process could be as short as 3 to 5 years or as long as 7 to 8 years.”
By Hong Yun
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, XMU
Edited by Zong Yuchen, Long Jin