In disappointing news, adding the Hedgehog inhibitor GDC-0449 to standard chemotherapy failed to increase the time before advanced colorectal cancer got worse.
Researchers compared progression-free survival between patients who got either FOLFOX or FOLFIRI chemotherapy with Avastin and a group who got the same chemo regimen with GDC-0449. There was no difference
GDC-0449 was being developed by Genentech in collaboration with Curis.
Hopes for the new treatment were raised at ASCO earlier this month where reports showed no increased side effects with the new combination.
Researchers thought that blocking the Hedgehog gene on the surface of cancer cells would stop a series of signalling events in a pathway inside the cell leading to cell death and lengthening the time until cancer began to grow again.
Hedgehog is involved in embryonic development, particularly in growth of limbs. It was first observed in fruit flies where mutations led to many spiky extra legs making the curled up fly look like a hedgehog. You can watch a video of how it works.
Disclosure: C3 has received funding from Genentech in the form of unrestricted educational grants. C3 has ultimate control over website content.