Cancer Research UK launches trial for potential new drug to block cancer cells’ energy supply

Cancer Research UK’s Drug Development Office (DDO) has launched a new clinical trial of a brand new type of experimental drug to treat a range of cancers.

The trial of the drug called AZD3965, developed by AstraZeneca, will be undertaken by Cancer Research UK’s National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, based at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research at Newcastle University, as well as at least one other clinical centre.

Approximately 63 cancer patients will take part in the first clinical trial of the compound to see if it is safe and can benefit cancer patients.

Cancer Research UK’s DDO have collaborated closely with the trial clinical centres to plan, design and gain regulatory and ethical approval for this exciting first in class, first in man study. The DDO is sponsoring, funding and managing the trial whilst AstraZeneca is providing the drug.

Trial lead, Professor Ruth Plummer, Cancer Research UK clinician at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research at Newcastle University, said: “I’m excited to open this trial of a completely new type of cancer treatment, which continues our drive for the most effective new treatments to give patients the best chance of surviving this dreadful disease.

“It’s heartbreaking for cancer patients when the drugs have stopped working and they have run out of options. But we hope new drugs will be able to save their lives in the future.”

AZD3965 targets monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) which is essential in cell metabolism. Blocking this transporter limits cancer cells’ ability to generate energy, and decreases their capacity to survive.
Susan Galbraith, head of the oncology innovative medicines unit at AstraZeneca, said: “Targeting tumour cell metabolism represents a novel and exciting approach to potentially treat cancer. AstraZeneca is delighted to be working with Cancer Research UK to investigate the utility of AZD3965 which is aimed to address the needs of cancer sufferers.”
The drug has been developed through Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) scheme.
CDP is a joint initiative between Cancer Research UK’s DDO and Cancer Research Technology, to progress promising anti-cancer agents which pharmaceutical companies do not have the resources to progress, through early phase clinical trials. This is the fifth drug from the scheme to enter clinical trials.
Dr Nigel Blackburn, director of drug development at the DDO, said: “We’re delighted to open this clinical trial of such a promising new drug which cuts off the energy supply to tumour cells and kills them.
“This is the fifth drug from our CDP programme to reach clinical trials – without the scheme it simply might not have been possible to provide this drug to patients. We’ll continue to build on these successes to accelerate the development of further treatments though new trials of drugs which otherwise may not have reached patients for many years.”

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