As many scientists are currently focusing on the search for a Covid-19 vaccine, a new drug test for cancer has reached promising results.
The new drug targets cancer’s ability to repair its DNA and has shown promising results in a Phase I trial.
Cancer arises when mutations or changes to DNA result in uncontrollable cell growth. The new study found that the drug halted cancer growth in half of the patients who were given the drug or combined with chemotherapy. Two patients reportedly saw their tumors shrink or disappear completely.
The new drug is called berzosertib. It works blocking a protein called ATR, which repairs DNA. The manufacturer of the drug, Merck KGaA has funded the trial.
A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust led the trial, which involved 40 patients with advanced tumors. The findings were published thin month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The drug stopped tumor growth in more than half of the patients given the medicine alone or combined with chemotherapy, which came as a surprise for doctors.
Those receiving the drug with chemotherapy saw a “marked” benefit, demonstrating that chemotherapy boosts sensitivity to berzosertib, researchers wrote. In these patients, 71 percent reportedly saw their disease stabilize.
After receiving berzosertib, one patient with advanced bowel cancer saw his tumors disappear, and a woman with advanced ovarian cancer saw her tumors shrink.
The drug will now advance in further trials and researchers are hopeful that soon it will be used as a treatment for patients with cancer.
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