One study found that cancer could be fought with berzosertib. The new drug targets the ability of a cancer cell to repair its DNA, stopping tumor growth. The study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology evaluated the safety of the drug.
As part of the study, the researchers found that cancer stopped growing in half of the patients who received berzosertib, which belongs to a new class of drugs known as ATR inhibitors.
ATR inhibitors block the function of a protein called ATR, which helps cancer cells repair damaged DNA.
In two of the patients taking berzosertib, the cancer was found to completely disappear.
The researchers noted that it is unusual to see a clinical response at such early stages in a drug trial.
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The study’s author, Professor Johann de Bono, head of drug development at the London Cancer Research Institute and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our new clinical trial is the first to assess the safety of a new family. of targeted cancer drugs in people, and it is encouraging to see some clinical responses even at this early stage. “
Damage to DNA in cells is believed to be the human cause of cancer, but experts believe that finding ways to prevent cancer cells from repairing their DNA could stop the spread of the disease.
In the first phase of the trial, researchers at the Cancer Research Institute in London and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust gave berzosertib, alone or with chemotherapy, to 40 participants with each advanced tumor.
They were then able to establish the doses at which the drug was safe for use in additional clinical trials, and found that berzosertib alone caused only mild side effects.
The researchers also found that the drug stopped tumor growth in half of the participants who received the drug when administered alone or with chemotherapy.
The greatest benefits were seen in the participants who received chemotherapy, and 15 of 21 participants saw their disease stabilize.
A patient with advanced bowel cancer saw his tumors disappear and was able to remain cancer-free for more than two years after taking the drug.
Another woman with advanced ovarian cancer, whose disease had returned after treatment with another medication, saw her tumors shrink after taking berzosertib along with chemotherapy.
Professor Paul Workman, executive director of the Cancer Research Institute, added: “Targeting a cancer’s ability to repair its DNA is a fundamentally important avenue of cancer research that has provided some of the most important advancements against the disease. in recent years.
“It is exciting to see that the first clinical trial of a drug targeting a key player in the DNA repair process has such promising results, and I look forward to the results of more studies to prove the benefit of this new family of targeted treatments.” .
Now more trials with the drug will be carried out.
The researchers hope that it can become a new targeted treatment for cancer patients.
Cancer treatment in the monent
At the moment, surgery is the first treatment to treat most types of cancer.
Solid tumors can usually be removed surgically.
The NHS adds: “Two other commonly used treatment methods are chemotherapy (powerful drugs to fight cancer and radiation therapy), the controlled use of high-energy x-rays.”
If you suspect you have cancer, contact your GP.