Skip to main content

First anti-cancer Pro-tide drug from the McGuigan laboratory is tested in humans

21 January 2013

NuCana BioMed ("Nucana"), an Edinburgh based biopharmaceutical company has started a phase 1/2  trial in humans with pancreatic cancer of NUC 1031 in the Hammersmith Hospital, London. NUC 1031 is a ProTide developed in Professor McGuigan's laboratory in the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

NUC1031, based on the anti-cancer drug gemcitabine, is the first anti-cancer ProTide to be taken into human studies at the end of 2012. Gemcitabine is used to treat pancreatic cancer, but is effective in only about 10% of patients.  It is hoped that by preventing resistance from developing, NUC1031 will prove more effective, as shown already in the laboratory with cancer cells.  

 NuCana has exclusive worldwide rights to the revolutionary ProTide technology in cancer. ProTides were invented in Cardiff University by Professor McGuigan's group 

NuCana intend to follow up with further anti-cancer ProTides  and will also assess effectiveness of each compound against other cancer types. Their approach is to target specific patients whose cancers are resistant to some of the anti-cancer drugs in common use today. Adding the ProTide allows the cancer drugs to bypass the key pathways that make cancer cells resistant, and as such greatly extends their utility. 

 Professor Chris McGuigan, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the inventor of the ProTide technology, added: "The ProTide technology has been widely applied to anti-viral nucleosides, by companies such as Gilead, Pharmasset and Inhibitex, with dramatic improvement in efficacy and tolerability. NuCana's focus on the anti-cancer nucleosides is very exciting and has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment options for millions of patients diagnosed with cancer".

Anti-cancer Nucs and Protides - Presentation by Professor Chris McGuigan (PDF)

 NuCana was founded in 2008 in Edinburgh by CEO Hugh Griffith and Executive Chairman Chris Wood. Between them they have over forty years experience developing new cancer drugs.

Share this story