One of the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy is mucositis -` the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes' - particularly in the mouth and digestive system which makes swallowing a painful challenge. Lead story this week suggests help could be on the way.

Second story  is another step on the gene therapy area.


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Anti–Oral Mucositis Drug Granted Breakthrough Status
(U.S.)The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to GC4419 (Galera Therapeutics) for reduction of the duration, incidence, and severity of severe oral mucositis induced by radiation therapy with or without systemic therapy. The FDA has also granted GC4419 Fast Track designation.

GC4419 is a highly selective, potent small molecular dismutase mimetic. The drug is able to rapidly convert the superoxide generated by radiation therapy into hydrogen peroxide, thus reducing the effects of radiation-induced severe oral mucositis. (Superoxide damages epithelial cells in the mouth.)

The lead indication for GC4419 is in patients with head and neck cancer, for whom radiation therapy is a mainstay of treatment. Approximately 70% of patients receiving chemoradiotherapy for head and neck cancer develop severe oral mucositis, defined by the World Health Organization as grade 3 or 4. These patients typically experience significant pain and are unable to eat solid food or drink liquids.

Full story:

Biomarkers to Personalize Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer
(Brazil) Researchers at A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in Brazil have found markers in the blood of head and neck cancer patients that can help identify cases that are likely to evolve to metastasis or develop local relapse after treatment. 

The results of the study, which was supported by FAPESP, were published in the journal Head & Neck.

“Besides pointing to new therapeutic targets, the findings can contribute to more personalized and effective treatment. If physicians know which patients run a heightened risk of progression of the disease, they can opt for systemic treatment with more powerful drugs,” said clinical oncologist Thiago Bueno de Oliveira, a co-author of the article.

Head and neck cancer is most prevalent in developing countries, representing the ninth most common type of cancer in the world, with 700,00 new cases per year according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Full story:

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