Could end the problem of cancer drugs becoming resistant
A BREAKTHROUGH by Welsh scientists could end the problem of cancer drugs becoming resistant to the disease they are designed to treat.
Experts at the Welsh School of Pharmacy have developed cancer ProTide technology, which can make it very difficult for cancer cells to develop resistance to a particular drug.
Scottish company NuCana BioMed, which has the worldwide rights to the technology has now secured £6.74m in financing to take the first ProTide anti-cancer drug into clinical trial next year.
If the trial is successful, it could give a number of existing cancer drugs, which have developed resistance problems, a new lease of life and increase the treatment options for patients.
Professor Chris McGuigan, the lead ProTide researcher who is based at Cardiff University, said: “We think this is a good way of discovering new drugs to which a tumour will have difficulty becoming resistant, which is a major current problem.
“Researchers have developed drugs, which are very effective and targeted but if a tumour can easily learn how to evade them, then the drug can have transient use.
“In theory, every drug has the potential for resistance to arise.”
The ProTide technology is potentially effective in a family of about 30 anti-cancer and anti-viral drugs, which are related to the nucleoside components of DNA.
The team at the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University has designed and developed a new molecule – called NUC-1031 – against which cancer cells have, so far, been incapable of generating any form of resistance.
Prof McGuigan said: “This is a completely new drug but it is based on a known drug called gemcitabine – essentially we have engineered it to make a new drug, which can overcome the known mechanisms for resistance.
“Gemcitabine was developed for pancreatic cancer but works in only about 10% of patients so it’s rather limited. If we’re able to double that, it will be a major step forward.”