Promising new treatment for drug-resistant prostate cancer

pharmafile | January 12, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Cancer 

A new experimental drug could offer a promising treatment strategy for men with advanced, drug-resistant prostate cancer, researchers have said.

A study by The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust has revealed the chemical structure and method of action of a new targeted drug called CCS1477, and suggests it could be used to stop the growth of late-stage prostate cancers.

The drug is now being evaluated in clinical trials as a monotherapy for patients with prostate cancer, and also in combination with existing drugs like enzalutamide and abiraterone. Researchers are hopeful it could help to delay or prevent resistance to these treatments.

CCS1477 was discovered by Cambridge-based CellCentric Ltd. The study, published today in Cancer Discovery, was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Movember, Prostate Cancer UK, Cancer Research UK and CellCentric Ltd. Other collaborators on the study include researchers from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

Scientists studied cell lines and tumour biopsies from 43 patients in the lab. They showed that the new drug works by binding itself to two cancer gene regulators, the proteins p300 and CBP, which help activate androgen receptor signalling. By blocking the activity of these two proteins, the drug can stop prostate cancer’s growth and potentially delay or prevent drug resistance.  

The research suggests that CCS1477 is not only able to target androgen receptor signalling, but also the potential genomic changes and adaptations prostate cancer may undergo to evade treatment. Researchers are hopeful it could be used in combination with modern hormone drugs to overcome or delay resistance to treatment.

The new drug is also being trialled in patients with blood cancers, including multiple myeloma and lymphomas, and in patients whose tumours have a range of mutations, including changes in genes such as p300, CBP or c-Myc – often altered in breast, bladder, and lung cancers.

Study leader Johann de Bono, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our study offers a potentially exciting new approach to treating prostate cancer. For the first time, we have shown that blocking two proteins known as p300 and CBP with a new targeted drug can disrupt signals that help fuel the growth of prostate cancers.

“These initial results are very promising, and suggest that the drug could help delay or prevent resistance to the modern hormone treatments abiraterone and enzalutamide, which have already played a critical role in helping patients to live for much longer. My team and I are already evaluating the new drug in a clinical trial to assess its safety and anti-tumour activity in men with advanced prostate cancer.”

Darcy Jimenez

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