British researchers have announced the development of a new class of drug that could help treat drug-resistant acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
The drug ICEC0942 targets the enzyme CDK7, which is involved in the transcription process.
Scientists at Imperial College, London, reported the properties of the drug in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics this week.
The treatment is undergoing testing in a phase I clinical trial - the first patient received the drug in November 2017, taking it in oral form.
Preclinical testing on models of treatment-resistant breast cancers indicated minimal side-effects.
The researchers are hoping it may also work with other transcription-dependent cancers, such as AML and small-cell lung cancer.
Oncologist Professor Charles Coombes said: "Drugs such as these could help to shift the balance back in favour of the patients, potentially providing a new option to patients for who existing treatments no longer work."
Dr Iain Foulkes, from Cancer Research UK, said: “We hope that this promising new class of drug will offer more options to patients who have few left available to them, and help more people survive their cancer."
Source: Patel, H., Periyasamy, M., Sava, G.P., Bondke, A., Slafer, B.W., Kroll, S.H., Barbazanges, M., Starkey, R., Ottaviani, S., Harrod, A. and Aboagye, E.O., 2018. ICEC0942, an Orally Bioavailable Selective Inhibitor of CDK7 for Cancer Treatment. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, pp.molcanther-0847.
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