OHRI-led clinical trial demonstrates first evidence that new colorectal cancer drug saves lives

November 14, 2007

An OHRI-led clinical trial has provided the first evidence that a new class of drug can improve survival in colorectal cancer patients in whom all other therapies had failed. The drug, called cetuximab, is targeted against growth-promoting molecules on the surface of cancer cells. Patients who received the drug survived 23 per cent longer, with significant improvements in quality of life. The study included nearly 600 patients from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and was funded by the National Cancer Institute of Canada, ImClone Systems and Bristol-Myers Squibb. It was led by medical oncologist Dr. Derek Jonker (affiliated with the OHRI, The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.