Drug studied at Karmanos Cancer Institute to enter clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments

Obese population at higher risk for COVID-19 complications
Posted at 2:30 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 14:30:13-04

(WXYZ) — An oral therapy that has been studied in laboratory experiments and clinical trials at the Karmanos Cancer Institute will enter clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19.

Selinexor is approved at higher doses by the FDA as a treatment for cancer patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

Asfar Azmi, Ph.D., assistant professor, co-leader, Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Research Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine and director of pancreas cancer research initiatives led the Karmanos team that helped developed the drug.

Clinical trials exploring the use of the drug in treating COVID-19 will soon be underway at 40 locations internationally.

"The fascinating thing about this trial is that we are able to apply information learned about the drug's effect on tumor cell biology to the treatment of deadly viral infections using lower doses of the drug than we typically use to treat cancer," said Jeffrey Zonder, M.D., who will be the Principle Investigator (PI) for the upcoming trial at Karmanos.

"I am very proud that the work of our investigators is contributing to the fight against COVID-19. I congratulate the team in helping to develop a drug that is finding applications beyond cancer treatment," said Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Karmanos Cancer Institute.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.