Scientists have said that the first ever drugs to stop the resistance of cancer cells to treatment will be made available within a decade. The Institute of Cancer Research has announced ₤75 million for the development of these drugs.
Prof Paul Workman, the Chief Executive said that the greatest challenge faced in the treatment is the ability of the cancer cells to adapt to the drugs. He said that this new drug would help in making cancer a manageable and curable disease in the long run. According to researchers the existing treatment like chemotherapy fails at times because of the ability of the cancer cells to adapt and they survive again. The adaptive ability of cancer and then evolving to become drug resistant was one of the major challenges faced by the researchers. The institute is changing the way they have been seeing cancer till now and are trying to focus on the ways in which the cancer cells can evolve to prevent them from turning drug resistant.
The Institute of cancer Research has found to way to approach this by harnessing evolution and turn to Charles Darwin’s theories for new therapies. One way for this is by limiting the cancer’s ability to evolve by the development of drugs. Another approach is by evolutionary herding in which then development of cancer is guided to make it more drugs vulnerable. The deputy director of cancer evolution, Dr. Andrea Sottoriva said that mathematical prediction methods and artificial intelligence have got great ability to get within the cancer’s head and can give a prediction on what is going to happen next and also its response to treatments.
A new drug is being designed by researchers to stop the Apobec which is type of protein molecule and is part of immune system that is hijacked by half of the types of cancer in order to speed up drug resistance evolution. Prof Workman said that it would take around 10 years for the new drugs to be clinically tested and finally made available to the patients. He said that with the coming of these drugs cancer would become a curable disease and will help in guaranteeing a healthier and longer life to the patients.