The search for a cure for cancer rages on, but in the meantime scientists are launching an alternative – a drug that overcome cancer’s ability to become resistant to even the newest treatments and recur in many patients. Calling it a ‘Darwinian’ drug, the development of this medicine will focus on controlling the disease for years to come.
“Cancer’s ability to adapt, evolve, and become drug-resistant is the cause of the vast majority of deaths from the disease and the biggest challenge we face in overcoming it,” said Paul Workman, chief executive of Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) – a charity and research institute which will lead the new Center for Cancer Drug Discovery.
The ICR has funded this new center with 75 million pounds (over Php 5 billion), which will “seek to meet the challenge of cancer evolution head on.” People working at the center will tackle the project in two ways:
- Selecting an initial specific treatment which will force cancer cells to adapt in way that will make very susceptible to a second drug, pushing them into an evolutionary dead end (“evolutionary herding”).
- Explore a new class of drugs to target cancer’s ability to evolve and resist treatment.
Workman also said that combination therapies using multiple current or new treatments will be looked into.
‘Stop playing catch-up’
Cancer drug discovery specialist Olivia Rossanese will head the center’s biology team, saying the idea was to build a global hub of expertise in anti-evolution therapies so scientists could “stop playing catch-up” with cancer.
“This Darwinian approach to drug discovery gives us the best chance yet of defeating cancer… because we will be able to predict what cancer is going to do next and get one step ahead.”
Story from Reuters.
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