There has been encouraging news from the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR), with scientists believing cancer could be made ‘manageable’ and ‘more curable’ within the next decade.
ICR scientists believe that the next 10 years will see medication capable of stopping cancer cells from becoming resistant to treatment.
It’s hoped these groundbreaking drugs will improve life expectancy and quality of life among cancer patients, preventing the disease from adapting and evolving.
Treatment resistance is reportedly the toughest challenge currently facing those working to fight cancer. Existing treatments – such as chemotherapy – sometimes fail because deadly cancer cells are able to adapt and mutate.
ICR scientists hope to address this challenge through ‘understanding, anticipating and overcoming cancer evolution’, focusing on a new approach known as ‘evolutionary herding’.
The ICR is now making an £75 million investment in a new Centre for Drug Discovery, and are appealing for a further £15 million to complete the project.
It is anticipated that nearly 300 scientists from a variety of fields will work together at this centre to fight against cancer’s evolution.
Today we are excited to reveal our plans for one of the world’s most important buildings for the discovery of revolutionary cancer treatments.
— The ICR (@ICR_London) May 16, 2019
Chief Executive of the ICR, Professor Paul Workman, has made the following statement regarding the new centre:
We will create exciting new ways of meeting the challenge of cancer evolution head on, by blocking the entire process of evolutionary diversity, using AI and maths to herd cancer into more treatable forms, and tackling cancer with multi-drug combinations as used successfully against HIV and tuberculosis.
We firmly believe that, with further research, we can find ways to make cancer a manageable disease in the long term and one that is more often curable, so patients can live longer and with a better quality of life. But that research will need support and our new Centre will dramatically accelerate the progress we’re already making.
We are delighted to have awarded £1.5m to the new state-of-the-art Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery @ICR_London which will bring together researchers to find new and better drugs to tackle #cancer. pic.twitter.com/MltMzwGgr3
— Wolfson Foundation (@wolfsonfdn) May 16, 2019
Dr Olivia Rossanese, who will work as Head of Biology at the new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery, stated:
This ‘Darwinian’ approach to drug discovery gives us the best chance yet of defeating cancer, because we will be able to predict what cancer is going to do next and get one step ahead.
We’re especially excited by the potential of APOBEC inhibitors to slow down evolutionary diversity and drug resistance, and ensure our existing cancer drugs work for patients for much longer.
We believe this will be the first treatment in the world that rather than dealing with the consequences of cancer’s evolution and resistance, aims to directly confront the disease’s ability to adapt and evolve in the first place.
Learn more about how you can support the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery Appeal here.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.