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Anti-cancer ProTide NUC1031 successful in first human trials

7 June 2013

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ProTide NUC1031, developed by Professor Chris McGuigan and his research team in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has shown positive results in its first human trials. 

The compound could help stop patients from developing resistance to certain types of cancer drugs. NUC1031 is based on Gemcitabine, a treatment for the chemotherapy of solid tumours, including pancreas, breast and lung cancer. 

Gemcitabine is only effective in 10 per cent of patients, with many patients either not responding to the drug or developing a resistance over time.

If NUC1013 is added, the cancer drug can bypass the key pathways that make anti-cancer cells resistant.

Pharmaceutical company NuCana BioMed, with clinical input and support from research teams from Imperial College London and Barts Cancer Institute, have embarked on a series of tests on cancer patients in first and second stage clinical trials.

The trial reports the results from the first 11 patients with advanced tumours, including pancreas, breast, ovarian and colorectal. The results found that of the 11 patients in the study six now have stable disease with some being reported as stable after 24 weeks of therapy after taking ProTide NUC1031.

Hugh Griffith, Nucana’s Chief Executive Officer, added: "The clinical findings strongly endorse the hypothesis that ProTides are capable of bypassing cancer cell resistance.

"This could open up a new era in cancer treatment."

Head of Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Professor Malcolm Mason, School of Medicine said: "This is an immensely encouraging report, showing evidence of anticancer activity for this compound at an early stage in its development.

"It is especially noteworthy that this has been seen in a group of patients whose cancers are particularly difficult to treat.

"More research is, of course, needed, but the results to date are very exciting."

Professor McGuigan added: "Whilst this trial is only the first stage and small in relative numbers, these initial results are extremely encouraging.

"What the data suggests is, like we found in the laboratory, adding NUC1031 helps overcome the body’s resistance to the cancer drug Gemcitabine – making it far more effective in treating certain forms of cancer."

You can read more at Cardiff University's News Centre.

Prof Chris McGuigan

Position:Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
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Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 74537 Extension: 74537