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Cancer Research UK and Glaxosmithkline join forces to trial new anti-cancer drug

Researchers from Leeds and London will help with phase 1 clinical trials of a Glaxosmithkline anti-cancer drug. The trials are supported by Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology (CRT) today announced researchers from Leeds, Barts and Experimental Cancer Centre in London will begin a phase 1 clinical trial of an anti-cancer drug from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

GSK's 1070916A, an aurora kinase inhibitor*, is the third drug to enter Cancer Research UK's Clinical Development Partnerships (CDP) programme, but the first that is ready to be used in patients. 

Cancer Research UK will sponsor the phase I trial, at the Institute of Oncology at St James's University Hospital in Leeds and Barts and The London's Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in London. The trial will be managed by the charity's highly experienced drug development office and will start within the next year.

The phase I trial will be carried out on around 30 to 40 patients with advanced solid tumours who have had all the treatments currently available. Cancer Research UK will have the opportunity to carry out a further phase II trial if the trial is successful.

Dr Victoria John, head of clinical partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: "We're delighted to be working with GSK on this promising new molecule under our CDP initiative.

"This deal brings our CDP portfolio to three and the total number of new drugs in our early preclinical and clinical pipeline to over 40, something we believe is testament to the specialist skills and capability of our drug development team."

The phase I study will be led by Professor Chris Twelves of the University of Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, head of Cancer Research UK's Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre at the St James's Institute of Oncology. He said: "This exciting arrangement between Cancer Research UK and GlaxoSmithKline is good news for patients. It opens up a new avenue of drug development, allowing us to investigate a compound that is almost ready for the clinic but otherwise wouldn't be tested in patients. We look forward to beginning the trial as soon as possible."

CDP offers companies an alternative model to traditional out licensing, which enables them to retain rights to the compound throughout the development programme. The programme launched in 2006 to increase the number of new treatments for cancer patients by taking deprioritised anti-cancer agents from industry and putting them into clinical trials.

Under the terms of the partnership deal with GSK, Cancer Research UK will fund the study through early clinical development. GSK will have an option to further develop and commercialise the molecule in exchange for future payments to Cancer Research UK.  Financial terms have not been disclosed.

If GSK elects not to take the programme forward, the rights to the molecule will be given to CRT to secure an alternative partner.

Dr Keith Blundy, chief executive of CRT, said: "Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have always had to prioritise which agents they take into clinical development, but even more so in the current economic climate.

"This deal with GSK demonstrates how Cancer Research UK and CRT can work with industry to speed up the development of anti-cancer drugs that might otherwise remain on companies' shelves."

For further information:

Please contact the University of Leeds Press Office on +44 (0)113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

Emma Gilgunn-Jones, Cancer Research UK press office tel: 020 7061 8311

Notes to editors:

 Further information about the Clinical Development Partnerships programme can be found at http://www.clinicalpartnerships.com/

*The Aurora kinases are a group of natural enzymes which play a key role in controlling cellular division. Cancers occur when cells divide uncontrollably. It is hoped that by inhibiting the Aurora kinase enzymes, it will be possible to disrupt cellular division and therefore prevent or restrict tumour growth. There are three distinct classes of Aurora kinase, namely A, B and C, although only types A and B have been implicated with cancer to date. The Aurora kinases are thought to represent promising targets in the fight against cancer.

**Cancer Research UK and the Departments of Health in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland launched a network of 19 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) across the UK in April 2007, in a £35 million, five-year investment. Each ECMC brings together lab-based experts in cancer biology with cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas from the lab bench to the patient's bedside. Find out more at http://www.ecmcnetwork.org.uk/

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world.  Further information about CRT can be found at http://www.cancertechnology.com/

Cancer Research UK's Drug Development Office has an impressive record of developing novel treatments for cancer.  It currently has a portfolio of over 40 new anti-cancer agents in preclinical development, Phase I or early phase II clinical trials. Since 1982, the Cancer Research UK Drug Development Office has taken over 100 potential new anti-cancer agents into clinical trials in patients, five of which have made it to market and many others are still in development. These include temozolomide, a drug discovered by Cancer Research UK scientists, that is an effective new treatment for brain cancer. Six other drugs are in late development phase III trials.  This rate of success is comparable to that of any pharmaceutical company.  Further information about the Drug Development Office can be found at http://science.cancerresearchuk.org/tcr/drugdevelopment/

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK with more than 30,000 students from 130 countries and a turnover of £450m. The University is a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed it to be among the top UK research powerhouses. The University's vision is to secure a place among the world's top 50 by 2015. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/

The Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (LIMM) is a research Institute of the University dedicated to defining the molecules involved in human diseases, and using this knowledge to develop novel therapies and new drugs. http://www.limm.leeds.ac.uk/

Cancer Research UK

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org.uk/.

 

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