Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Accelerating Drug Development

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Professor Adrian Harris is currently leading a new type of trial to accelerate multi-agent drug development.

All human clinical trials of new treatments begin with phase I, where drugs are tested in isolation to confirm their safety.

Yet most effective cancer treatments use a combination of drugs, so-called 'multi-agent ' treatments.

After phase I trials are completed, it can sometimes take up to two years before multi-agent trials are approved, never mind conducting the lengthy phase II and III trials necessary before a new drug finally reaches the market.

Professor Adrian Harris at the University of Oxford is currently leading a new type of trial which aims to significantly accelerate multi-agent drug development.

Working with the Cancer Research UK Drug Development Office (DDO) and AstraZeneca, Professor Harris' team are now running phase I trials of a new cancer drug, AZD0424.

The big difference with this trial is that researchers and patients will not need to spend years waiting for approval after phase I is complete.

Since the trial was awarded flexible approval right from the start, researchers will be able to move straight to multi-agent trials to begin testing the new drug in three different 'arms'.

Each treatment arm will pair AZD0424 with a pre-approved cancer drug from a shortlist of 5.

All drugs on the shortlist have been approved for use in the trial, and the final three partner drugs will be chosen based on experiments in mice currently being undertaken at the Edinburgh and Belfast Cancer Research UK Centres.

Refining the choice of partner drugs while phase I trials are underway in Oxford adds a further time saving to the development process, and is possible thanks to the advanced approval process.

'Although the drug may be effective on its own, we expect substantial synergy in combinations,' says Professor Harris. 'So the strength of this trial is that we are able to pair it with other drugs without having to wait for further approval between stages.'

AZD0424 works by partially blocking two proteins, Src and ABL1, which are abundant in cancerous tissue. These proteins are important for cell growth, metastasis (the spread of cancer) and blood vessel development, so blocking them helps to halt the growth of cancer cells and shuts off their blood supply.

Researchers have selected a list of drugs whose effects are expected to complement AZD0424, and the results from Edinburgh and Belfast will help decide which ones to use.

'By pairing this drug with others, we can block multiple signalling pathways to improve the overall treatment,' explains Professor Harris. 'We hope that they will have additive or synergistic effects which could reduce or inhibit tumour growth.'

When the overall effect of multiple drugs is equal to adding up their individual effects, this is known as additive.

Synergistic effects are when drugs interact such that the result is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

The partner drugs have already been shown to work individually, but this trial is about finding their combined effects in humans.

'With conventional trial structures, it's unlikely that we would be investigating this drug in a multi-agent trial,' says Professor Harris. 'The flexibility to adapt the treatments used in the multi-agent stage will allow us to match specific patient groups and cancer types to the most promising drug pairs for their circumstances. By removing the considerable cost and delay of waiting for approval between stages, we can widen the pool of viable treatments and accelerate drug development.'

Yet doesn't removing this stage compromise the safety of the trials? Not according to Professor Harris.

'The approval granted before phase I was no less rigorous than it would have been if it was given between phases,' he explains. 'All of the drugs used in the trial have been tested for safety. One of the reasons for choosing AZD0424 is that similar drugs have minimal side effects, so it's a relatively low-risk compound to begin with. We will also reduce the dosage when we begin the multi-agent phase.'

Of course, this multi-arm trial design isn't suitable for all drugs. It does take a little longer to get advanced approval in the first place, delaying the start of phase I.

The design is well suited to a drug like AZD0424, which is expected to be most effective when used with other drugs. It is also important that patients in the trial receive good clinical care at all times.

'Professor Mark Middleton leads the clinical side,' says Professor Harris. 'He's currently running the phase I clinic, and every day he provides the highest quality of care to all patients in the trial. It's important that patients are treated holistically in the clinic.'

If the trial proves successful, Professor Harris hopes that the drug could be licensed for use with partner drugs within 4-5 years. 'It's worth remembering that by using combined approaches, including radiotherapy and surgery, half of common cancers are now curable,' he adds.

'A lot of people don't realize how far we've come in recent years. While there is still much work to be done, existing treatments for many cancers are highly effective. People often forget that, and it's important to focus on the positive sometimes.'


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Misfiring Drugs Hit the Wrong Targets
Anti-HIV protein inhibitor drugs can bind to the wrong protein, causing unwanted side effects.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Sweet Spot of Human Immune System
Scientists propose answer to how the human immune system scales its response in proportion to threat to make it 'just right'.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
HIV Hides No Longer
Researchers are working to create proteins that clear HIV-infected cells in order to eliminate latent infection and dormancy.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Type 2 Diabetes Genetics Revealed
The largest study of its kind into type 2 diabetes has produced the most detailed picture to date of the genetics underlying the condition.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Massive Helium Discovery a "Game Changer" for Medical Industry
A new development is gas exploration has yielded the discovery of a huge helium gas field, which could help relieve the dwindling supply.
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Genetic Research Can Significantly Improve Drug Development
With drug development costs topping $1.2bn (£850 million) to get a single treatment to the point it can be sold and used in the clinic, could genetic analysis save hundreds of millions of dollars?
Friday, June 17, 2016
Genes That Increase Children's Risk Of Blood Infection Identified
A team led by Oxford University has identified genes that make certain children more susceptible to invasive bacterial infections by performing a large genome-wide association study in African children.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Universal Flu Vaccine Under Development
Oxford spinout company Vaccitech has been launched with £10m seed investment to develop a universal flu vaccine already showing promise in clinical trials.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Biomarker Discovery Offers Hope For New TB Vaccine
A team of scientists led by Oxford University have made a discovery that could improve our chances of developing an effective vaccine against Tuberculosis.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Novel Collagen Fingerprinting Identifies A Neanderthal
Study from the universities of Oxford and Manchester uses ZooMS technique to identify traces of an extinct human.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Origin of a Species
A study by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University has uncovered the key role played by a single gene in how groups of animals diverge to form new species.
Monday, February 15, 2016
HIV Keeps Growing, Even When Undetectable
A team of international researchers including scientists from Oxford University has found that HIV is still replicating in lymphoid tissue even when it is undetectable in the blood of patients on antiretroviral drugs.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Bacterial Superglue for Faster Vaccine Development
An interdisciplinary team of Oxford University researchers has devised a new technique to speed up the development of novel vaccines.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Millions at Risk of Little Known Deadly Tropical Disease
Melioidosis, a difficult to diagnose deadly bacterial disease, is likely to be present in many more countries than previously thought.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Identifying Drug Resistance Traits
Scientists have developed an easy-to-use computer program that can quickly analyse bacterial DNA from a patient's infection and predict which antibiotics will work, and which will fail due to drug resistance.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Scientific News
Big Genetics in BC: The American Society for Human Genetics 2016 Meeting
Themes at this year's meeting ranged from the verification, validation, and sharing of data, to the translation of laboratory findings into actionable clinical results.
Stem Cells in Drug Discovery
Potential Source of Unlimited Human Test Cells, but Roadblocks Remain.
Automated Low Volume Dispensing Trends
Gain a better understanding of the current and future market requirements for fully automated LVD systems.
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Designer Cell Fate Switches Could Streamline Stem Cell Biology
Researchers develop new method of reprogramming cells between cell types in a more efficient way than before.
Gene Therapy Maintains Clotting Factor for Hemophilia Patients
Following a single gene therapy dose, the highest levels of an essential blood clotting factor IX were observed in hemophilia B patients.
More Effective Strategy for Producing Flu Vaccines
Researchers have developed a virus backbone, allowing producers to grow vaccine viruses in mammalian cells, rather than in eggs.
Soil Carbon Release Might Equal U.S. Emissions
Research suggests 55M tons of carbon will be release from soils by 2050, 17% higher than prjected emissions.
Inspiring Futuristic Innovation: Brain ‘Organoids’
Scientists create artificial brains, providing an advanced model for studying brain tumour development.
Predicting Leukaemia Development in Cancer Patients
Biomarker may predict which formerly treated cancer patients will develop highly fatal form of leukemia.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!