The days of fasting for patients taking oral prostate cancer medications may soon be over, with the development of new formulas showing promise in eliminating negative side effects.
Professor Clive Prestidge and his team at the University of South Australia’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Innovation have spent the past two years conducting a study which aimed to get drugs like Zytiga to work more effectively in the body.
The team recently wrapped up the project, made possible through a grant from Australian Prostate Cancer and The Hospital Research Foundation Group, and the results are encouraging.
Prof Prestidge and the team have developed new formulations of the drug that have shown potential to overcome low “bioavailability” – where the drug doesn’t reach or absorb into the body as effectively as it should.
“The smart pills that have been developed can overcome the low bioavailability challenge of Zytiga and mitigate the pharmaceutical food effect (drug absorption),” he said.
“This means that prostate cancer patients taking this hormone therapy drug can potentially take fewer pills and not be required to fast before and after.
“This new medicine has been extensively tested in preclinical models and the pharmacokinetic performance can be better predicted.”
Zytiga (known clinically as Abiraterone Acetate) is an oral medication widely used to treat metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body).
Because prostate cancer requires testosterone to grow, Abiraterone Acetate works by reducing testosterone production and slowing the cancer’s growth.
But patients require a high dosage because the body absorbs only a fraction of the drug and forces them to fast for hours both before and after taking it.
Prof Prestidge said the new formulas were now “well-positioned” to enter clinical trials after showing promise in the laboratory.