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Grant worth £4million awarded to develop new cancer drug

publication date: Apr 8, 2010
 | 
author/source: The Institute of Cancer Research

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have been awarded a £4 million grant from the Wellcome Trust to develop a new breast cancer treatment. 

A team at the ICR discovered drug-like compounds that can be used to block an enzyme from the PARP superfamily, leading to the death of some breast and other cancer cells. The grant will allow scientists at the ICR, in collaboration with drug discovery company Domainex, to examine all the potential compounds, and develop the best candidates to take into clinical trials. 

The grant was awarded under the Wellcome Trust's Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, a five-year £91 million scheme to encourage the development of drug-like, small molecules. Projects selected must address an unmet healthcare need and have a realistic prospect of being developed further by the pharmaceutical or biotechnology market. 

This award is the third the ICR has received under the Wellcome Trust's Technology Transfer funding scheme. ICR scientists are already investigating two other drug targets using these funds: inhibitors of lysyl oxidase (LOX), an enzyme that promotes metastatic spread of cancer through the body, and of B-RAF, a protein encoded by a gene mutated in a range of human cancers including about half of malignant melanomas. 

Study leader Professor Alan Ashworth, from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the ICR, says: "This significant grant from the Wellcome Trust is testament to the quality of research at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre and the ICR. We are delighted that the research programme is progressing well and we have the opportunity to take these drug-like compounds into the next phase of the drug discovery process."

The ICR's Director of Enterprise Dr Susan Bright says: "This enzyme is a promising therapeutic target, and preliminary work using Domainex's unique technology has identified potential compounds that may function as inhibitors. The £4 million grant from the Wellcome Trust is a welcome endorsement of the work completed so far, and will allow us to fully investigate the possibilities of this new anti-cancer target and hopefully progress it into clinical trials. We shall continue to work closely with our collaborative partners in the implementation of the next phase of the project." 

For further information, please visit www.icr.ac.uk




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