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First targeted therapy approved for metastatic colorectal cancer patients in more than a decade.

Fruquitinib has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat metastatic colorectal cancer in patients who have progressed from standard therapies, including chemotherapy and other targeted therapies. Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets specific gene pathways and proteins that help cancer cells survive and grow. Fruquitinib is a selective kinase inhibitor that targets every vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR). These receptors help the cancer form new blood vessels in a process called angiogenesis. This process allows the cancer to access the body’s nutrients. Fruquitinib specifically targets this process and will ‘starve’ the tumour of nutrients. This selectivity is important as the drug can be combined with other treatments. 

Fruquitinib, under the trade name FRUZAQLA, was approved after two phase 3 clinical trials; the FRESCO-2 trial, and the FRESCO trial, evaluating the drug in a combined cohort of 1100 patients, with the drug being safe and effective in 734 of those patients. Patients showed an increase in survival in both phase 3 trials of around 3 months compared to placebo. Targeted therapies are not funded by PHARMAC in New Zealand for metastatic colorectal cancer. Certain targeted therapies, such as Fruquitinib may be covered by health insurance or are available to patients under a cost-share program from treatment manufacturers, such as Roche. Patients in New Zealand should consult with a specialist in private care to see if they will benefit from targeted treatment. 

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Andy Highton awarded Kia Niwha Leader Fellowship

Congratulations to Gut Health Network member, Andy Highton, who was awarded a Kia Niwha Leader Fellowship


Vedolizumab supports intestinal stem cell recovery.

A recent study from the University of California, San Francisco showed that Vedolizumab (VDZ), an anti-integrin antibody, effective in the treatment for Colitis, plays an important role in limiting specific inflammatory immune, fibroblasts and endothelial cells to facilitate intestinal epithelial stem cell recovery. By using a combination of latest sequencing technologies, they provide a tool for comprehensive analysis of the inter cellular networks of the colon in health, disease, and during treatment. Implementing these new single-cell and spatial technologies simultaneously in individual patients will lead to more precise treatment algorithms, and therefore a way for precision medicine.

Click on the link below to see the study


Gut bacteria break down cholesterol

In a new study, researchers found that gut bacteria can break down cholesterol. They identified  bacteria in the human gut that have an enzyme that can convert cholesterol into a form that isn't absorbed by the body. The study supports previous work indicating a link between bacterial enzymes that can modify cholesterol. This research could potentially be used to develop probiotic-type treatments to replace or support traditional treatments for managing cholesterol, like statins.

For a summary of the research, click here

For the whole research paper, click here

Blog image credit:  Susanna Hamilton, Broad Communications


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