When it comes to chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, a combination of two or more drugs is often more effective than just one drug alone. The standard approach is the combination of a platinum compound, such as cisplatin or carboplatin, and a taxane, such as Taxol® or Taxotere®.
For IV chemotherapy, many doctors favour carboplatin over cisplatin because it has fewer side effects and is just as effective. That being said, carboplatin can still have very serious side effects, including but not limited to, anaemia, lowering the number of white blood cells in your blood making you more susceptible to infection, and altering kidney and liver function.
Although platinum compounds are currently the standard of care, they face a significant limitation – resistance. Over time, cells use all the mechanisms at their disposal to fight poisoning by platinum. When the cells become platinum resistant, they reduce the amount of the platinum compound reaching the nucleus. Cancer cells also modify the proteins that sense damage and commit the cell to apoptosis, allowing platinated cells to bypass their normal checks and balances.
If and when a cancer becomes platinum-resistant, the drugs cisplatin and carboplatin stop working and oncologists currently have no treatment options to offer these patients. New treatments are needed. We believe that our lead oncology asset, COTI-2, represents a significant therapeutic advantage over treatments currently available for ovarian cancer.
COTI-2, which is soon to enter multiple Phase 1 clinical trials for the treatment of patients with gynecological cancers, acts by normalizing the p53 protein function in cancer cells with such mutations. As more than 95% of all ovarian cancers have this mutation, it appears that of all the ovarian drugs in development at this time, COTI-2 offers the most exciting treatment opportunity. Unlike nearly every other cancer treatment in existence today, COTI-2 is non-genotoxic. Conventional chemotherapy involves the killing of all growing and dividing cells in the body (cancer or otherwise), which often leads to significant toxic side effects in patients. By contrast, COTI-2 specifically targets and primarily destroys tumor cells.