Singapore has developed its first cancer drug, SB-939, from two Singapore-based cancer institutes and a biotechnology company, S*BIO, according to Channel News Asia. The Singapore National University Cancer Institute, the Cancer Institute of Singapore and S*BIO have collaborated for the phase I trials.
For over a year, the drug was administered orally to 30 cancer patients three times a week. Of these, 24 tolerated the drug well and four showed better than expected tumor growth control.
Associate Professor Goh Boon Cher, senior consultant of the Singapore National University Cancer Institution, said, "the drug actually works by causing cancer cells to die preferentially over the normal cells. So there is some selective advantage to killing cancer."
"The main side effect was tiredness and some patients who had a lower platelet count. There were some insignificant abnormalities in electrocardiograms. In general, these side effects were tolerable, reversible and did not harm the patients,” said Goh.
Phase I assessed the safety and tolerability of the drug and served to set the dosage for the phase II trials.