On Tuesday, June 9th, the Founder, CEO, and Executive Chairman of Novogen, Dr. Graham Kelly, spoke on behalf of his company’s success. Novogen is an US-Australian public drug discovery company that has recently teamed with the Yale School of Medicine. Together, they call themselves CanTx.

To date, cancer research companies strive to develop chemotherapies that target the body of a tumor. The body consists of rapidly diving daughter cells. These cells are derived from slow-dividing tumor-initiating stem cells, which are resistant to chemo- and radiotherapies. CanTx’s mission goes beyond today’s most efficient chemotherapy techniques and targets the cancer stem cells. They have developed a powerful drug, Cantrixil, which can destroy the relentless stem cells. This drug physically inhibits the cell’s ability to transfer electrons across its membrane, thus impairing it’s standard functioning processes.

CanTx focuses primarily on ovarian cancer, but they can expand their practical technology to be applied throughout the abdominal cavity. Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all women’s cancers, with an overall survival rate of roughly 40%. Each year, approximately 25,000 women are diagnosed in the United States alone. Additionally, there is no efficient approach to detect early stages; diagnosed women generally have reached stage three or four of the cancer. After the first trial of chemotherapy on this disease, the chemo-resistant stem cells produce a new generation of daughter cells. Typically, this recurrent disease is less responsive to therapy than the first generation and can be even more aggressive.

The drug Cantrixil is derived from a benzopyran chemical structure. It is designed to target both the tumor-initiating stem cells and its daughter cells. The target they have selected is highly specialized within cancer cells, so there is very little to no toxicity to other cells. The medicine is an intra-cavity chemotherapy designed for injection into the pleural or peritoneal cavities.

CanTx is currently still in the research phase, but will soon move to clinical trials. In this stage of preliminary testing, CanTx will focus on ovarian cancer patients that have not responded to other forms of chemotherapy. They plan to expand their research to patients with any form of cancer within the abdomen, particularly those with malignant ascites. There is currently no standard cure for this build-up of fluid in the abdominal cavity. We wish the best of luck to this team with their courageous efforts in the seemingly ever-lasting battle against cancer.