Positive preclinical trials of a new drug designed to target ‘untreatable’ brain cancer in children have been announced by The Institute of Cancer Research.

Scientists at the London-based Institute, working with an international team of peers, have discovered a new drug type capable of killing brain cancer cells and shrinking tumours. Biotech M4K Pharma is now developing the inhibitor drugs, with clinical trials predicted to start on children with brain cancer in 2021. This offers new hope in the fight against the deadly childhood cancer: ‘diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma’ (DIPG).


“I’m proud that the Institute of Cancer Research is working in an academic-industry partnership with the biotech company M4K Pharma to take a drugs forward to the clinic. Where the patient population is very small, it can be difficult to get companies to take such drugs on. And even where this does happen the result is often a very expensive drug that the NHS struggles to afford. One important solution, as shown here, is for academic researchers to take a leading role in working closely with companies to create genuinely innovative treatments at an acceptable price,” said Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London. “I hope that a new drug from this research can be taken to the clinic as quickly as possible to help children with DIPG tumours.”

The study was published today in the journal: Communications Biology.