“Olive oil drug” could help treat glioblastoma (GBM)

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An early trial run by the NHS has suggested that an “olive oil drug” could help treat glioblastoma (GBM) – the most commonly-diagnosed high-grade brain tumour affecting adults.

As reported in The Telegraph today (Wednesday 21st February), a drug derived from oleic acid – a chemical which naturally occurs in olive oil – has shown promise in early studies. The NHS is now launching a phase three trial to test its effectiveness.

The drug, called idroxioleic acid or 2-OHOA, works by reconfiguring the cell membranes of the cancerous cells to stop them working like a normal tumour and prevent the cancer from growing or spreading as effectively.

Previous results, published in 2023 in the British Journal of Cancer, showed the drug should be given as a Lemsip-like sachet mixed with water three times a day. A quarter of patients responded positively and one patient lived for more than three years.

A phase three trial is now being launched by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation which is recruiting more than 200 patients.

Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, said: “We welcome this news of a phase three clinical trial for GBM. This type of tumour is extremely difficult to treat and there have been few new treatments in decades. Clinical trials are a vital stage of the translational pipeline which takes new drugs and treatments from the scientist’s bench to the patient’s bedside, and we urgently need more trials for brain tumour patients.

“Fundamentally, any ambition to increase the number of clinical trials for brain tumour patients is underpinned by appropriate funding for early-stage science because without this, there will be no throughput of new developments and trials will cease. It is through research that we will find new treatments and, ultimately, a cure.”

Read the full article online.

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