Australian doctors have been the first in the world to take a new class of drug to control breast cancer, a breakthrough that could help slow the spread of the deadly disease in the country.
The drug, called raloxifene, was first tested on mice in the US last year.
It is now being tested on human trials.
The move is an example of the growing interest in the drug in Australia.
The world’s most popular drug, Avastin, is available in Europe and is approved in the United States for treating advanced liver cancer.
But Australia has been reluctant to go ahead with its own drug trials.
In February, the Australian government announced it was to invest $400 million to speed up its approval of a drug for breast cancer called nivolumab, but it has since been withdrawn from the market after more than two years of trials.
One of the reasons the drugs have been so slow to reach clinical trials in Australia is because of the difficulty in getting approval from regulatory agencies and the risk of side effects, such as side-effects such as blood clots, that occur with older drugs.
This month, the Royal College of Surgeons announced it would recommend that doctors use the drug ralactifene instead.
It said the drug’s “probable efficacy and safety profile are sufficiently strong to justify its continued use” in Australia as part of a global trial.
Raloxify was first approved in Europe in 2008 for use against lung cancer and is now used in other cancers.
It has a similar profile to Avastins.
But unlike Avastan and Avastinian, which are available worldwide, it has not been approved for use in Australia, which is the only country that requires that a cancer treatment be approved by a clinical trial.
A study on ralaxifene in mice was published in the American Journal of Cancer in February, and showed that it was more effective than other treatments.
It was also found to be more effective against other cancers, including breast, colon and liver.
Dr David Furlong, who led the study, said the results showed the drug was a better option for patients.
“We think that the evidence suggests that it may be more beneficial to use raloxinifene for patients with lung and colon cancer than to use other therapies for breast, prostate and other cancers,” he said.
“We believe that ralxifene is a superior choice for patients who are undergoing breast cancer treatment, as it provides more benefit and fewer side effects compared to other therapies.”
Dr Furlng said the trial found the drug had “robust” results compared to existing drugs.
He said the drugs could be used for patients in advanced stages of cancer, who would not otherwise be able to get the drug.
“There is a high likelihood that a patient with advanced disease will require ralixifene and it would not be appropriate to discontinue it if they were not receiving adequate care.”
Dr Furlung said it would take months before ralcoxifene was available in Australia and a study was required to see how long it would be before it could be prescribed to people in the state.
“The drug is in development and trials are underway in the UK, Australia and Canada,” he added.
Australian scientists are working with a US company called Genentech, which has been involved in the development of ralocoxifen in mice.
The Australian government is also working on a study that could give ralacoxifenes to patients who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer.
This week, the government announced $2.5 million in funding for a study into the drug, and a government-funded research institute was also established.
The funding was aimed at testing whether ralucoxifens could slow the progression of breast cancer and improve quality of life for those suffering from the disease.
Dr Fathima Rahman, the president of the Australian Breast Cancer Foundation, said her organisation had welcomed the announcement.
“It’s a great day for us and a great opportunity for us to help the country with this new breakthrough,” she said.
“This is a drug that is a safe, effective and safe combination of a proven therapy that has already been tested in mice.”
The research institute is set to be named after Dr Rahman.
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