Main Menu

ICR drug discovery highlighted for patient impact

Drug discovery research by ICR scientists has been singled out by a leading cancer journal for the current and future impact it is having on patients, and will be the subject of a presentation at an international cancer conference.

The research led by Professor Paul Workman and Dr Florence Raynaud from the ICR’s Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit has been selected as one of 16 studies published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics that have had the greatest “patient impact factor” - a lasting impact on research and patient care. The “outstanding” articles were selected from more than 9,500 the journal has reviewed and 3,700 it has published over the past decade.

The paper describes the discovery of an exciting new type of drug called a PI3K inhibitor, which targets an enzyme known to be important for cancer growth and spread, and also for drug resistance. A number of PI3K inhibitors are being tested in patient trials around the world, including the drug called GDC-0941 that was discovered  at the ICR in collaboration with biotech company Piramed and licensed to Genentech/Roche.

Professor Workman will discuss the success of PI3K inhibitors during a session he is hosting on Monday November 14 at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference: Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics called “Finding the Best New Cancer Targets”.

“Before we started this research project, PI3 kinase-inhibitory drugs were unprecedented and the approach was generally viewed as high risk by the pharmaceutical industry,” Professor Workman says. “Our discovery and subsequent development of these inhibitors was critically important because a high proportion of cancers have abnormalities in the PI3 kinase pathway, and these drugs therefore have the potential to treat a wide range of human cancers as a form of personalised medicine.”

Several other top ICR scientists will be presenting at the conference, which is being held in San Francisco, US, from November 12 to 16.

Professor Workman’s session also includes a presentation from the ICR’sDr Bissan Al-Lazikani on  canSAR, a powerful new cancer drug discovery database that has been launched to create a one-stop-shop for scientists worldwide and speed up the process of bringing drugs to patients. For the first time, it brings together all the relevant biological, chemical, pharmacological and eventually clinical data about important genes and proteins in every type of cancer in a way that greatly aids the discovery of new drugs.

On Sunday November 13, the ICR’s Professor Richard Marais will discuss how basic scientific research into the RAS and BRAF signalling pathways, which are disrupted in many cancer cells, has led to new drugs being developed. He will take part in the plenary session “Lessons from the BRAF-targeted Therapy of Melanoma”.

On Tuesday November 15, Professor Johann de Bono from the ICR and The Royal Marsden  will chair a session called “Advances in Targeted Hormonal Therapies”. Professor de Bono will discuss the development of a new drug for advanced prostate cancer, abiraterone, which was discovered at the ICR. 

comments powered by Disqus