Researching the cures


Professor Stephen Neidle

In this project, Professor Neidle and his team aim to optimise a drug that they have developed to target a crucial cancer enzyme called telomerase.

Project Title: The design and development of novel agents
for the treatment of chemo-resistant pancreatic cancer

Project Aims: Pancreatic cancers have a poor survival rate, in part because they are often resistant to the drugs used to treat them. To address this, Professor Neidle’s team has been investigating potential new types of drugs and has recently developed a molecule that works by stopping cancerous cells from multiplying indefinitely.

They designed the potential drug to target a crucial cancer enzyme called telomerase which normally keeps the genetic material in the cancer cell, but is not active in normal cells. When this potential drug was used to inactivate telomerase in a pancreatic cancer, the tumour that was previously resistant to conventional drugs shrank significantly in size.

In a new study funded by PCRF, Prof. Neidle and his team aim to optimise this potential drug to be as active and efficient as possible in treating pancreatic cancers. To do this, they will use biological and chemical methods to make a number of modified versions of the agent. From these, they will be able to identify the one that shows the best possible activity against pancreatic cancers. It is this ‘lead’ agent that he and his colleagues hope will then be taken forward for clinical trials in humans.