Cancer drug maker Noxopharm says new research proves its brain cancer drug is working.

Findings announced today show the active drug in Noxopharm’s flagship cancer treatment NOX66, idronoxil, can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) is collaborating with a university neurosurgical research team, which it declined to name, on a particular group of cells.

“These cell lines are derived from patients whose cancers failed to respond to temozolomide (TMZ), the only cytotoxic chemotherapy approved to treat [the most common form of malignant brain cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)],” the company said in a statement.

Despite the announcement, Noxopharm’s shares were down 4 per cent to 37.5c in lunchtime trade.

With high treatment resistance amongst almost all cases of GBM with chemotherapy, the new research opens a hopeful possibility for brain cancer patients.

The teams found that idronoxil sensitised the GBM cell lines to temozolomide, increasing its killing effect. It was able to kill these highly resistant cancer cells on its own, and it’s independent of the activity of the MGMT gene found in GBM.

“That gene (MGMT) is active in approximately 60 per cent of GBM patients, signalling a poorer response to TMZ and a poorer survival outlook. Idronoxil proved able to kill GBM cells regardless of their MGMT status.”

Last week Noxopharm raised $5.5 million to fund clinical development of the NOX66 drug.

Stockhead reported in July that the company plans to have a drug on the market in five years, with a precursor study to US FDA approval finished by the end of next year.

Noxopharm is worth $14.55 million and despite the news, its share price was down 2.56 per cent at midday trading. As an R&D company it’s still not reaping any revenues, but had $2.6 million in cash at the end of the July quarter with expected outflows of $1.25 million in this quarter.

The company has been contacted for comment.