Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London discovered a potent new cancer drug that has progressed into clinical trials.
Professor Ian Collins led a team of scientists who worked in partnership with colleagues at the drug discovery company Sareum to discover the drug, known as CCT245737, which blocks an important molecule called CHK1.
Most chemotherapies work by damaging the DNA of rapidly dividing cells. But in response, cancer cells activate CHK1 which delays cell division and gives cancer cells time to repair their damaged DNA. Researchers have been trying to work out how best to target this molecule and prevent cancers from resisting treatment.
The researchers used a variety of different assays to identify the most potent, selective and orally available drug that targets the CHK1 molecule.
When tested in mice with tumours grown from human cell lines, the drug was found to be effective as a single oral dose, which is an important indicator that it could be clinically effective, particularly as many of the CHK1 inhibitors currently studied are intra-venous only.
The research was published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The drug, which has now been progressed into clinical trials, was designed and synthesised at the ICR with funding from Cancer Research UK.