Cancer Research UK and its commercial arm Cancer Research Technology (CRT) are launching a trial of an experimental drug shown to simultaneously block many enzymes that control cancer cell growth and death. The ‘master-switch’ experimental drug, owned by Astex Pharmaceuticals, could potentially treat a range of cancer types. The drug, AT13148, is one of eight drugs to be developed through Cancer Research UK’s Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) program, which is a joint initiative between the charity’s DDO and CRT.
AT13148 is a type of drug called a kinase inhibitor. Research in the laboratory has shown it can simultaneously block several different enzymes that control cell growth and cell death, and the drug killed a range of cancer cell types including sarcoma, breast and prostate. Many drugs block only a single enzyme and scientists hope that switching off cell signals at multiple points at the same time could increase the effectiveness of this drug.