The new discovery is the result of collaborative efforts between biologists, chemists and clinicians working to find solutions for patients that no longer respond to treatments, and was made possible with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Cancer Research UK.
“Drug resistance continues to be a major challenge across many cancer types so it’s vital that we explore new ways to tackle tumours that have stopped responding to standard therapies. We hope that this promising new class of drug will offer more options to patients who have few left available to them, and help more people survive their cancer,” said Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of research and innovation.
And in lab-based tests of ICEC0942 it was able to fight ‘resistant breast cancers’ without side effects. It was subsequently licensed to Carrick Therapeutics who developed it into a molecule called CT7001, in oral pill form, which is now going through clinical trials.
“Treatment-resistant tumours represent a significant threat for patients, as once a cancer stops responding to treatments there is increasingly little clinicians can do,” said Professor Charles Coombes, from the Department of Surgery & Cancer. “Drugs such as these could help to shift the balance back in favour of the patients, potentially providing a new option to patients for who existing treatments no longer work.”
The CT7001 pill is now undergoing Phase I clinical trials and, if successful, will go through further testing over the next few years.