Development of cancer treatment drug 'could take years'

7 September 2011

Developing a successful cancer treatment drug could potentially take years, an expert has claimed.

Dr Mark Matfield argued that an effective drug was some time away, despite recent discoveries of genetic defects associated with cancer and a new bacterium that could highlight drug targets for inherited types of breast and ovarian forms of the disease, in findings published in the journal Nature.

"It's like building a house, first you have to make the bricks and then there are years of work left," explained Dr Matfield, scientific co-ordinator at the Association for International Cancer Research.

But he added that people would not get anywhere without "the bricks in the first place".

Cancer Research UK's Paterson Institute in Manchester was behind the mapping of the PARG protein, which through future trials of drugs that block the protein used for highlighting which sections of DNA needed to be repaired in cancer cells, could help treat the disease.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Hahn, Christopher N et al, "Heritable GATA2 mutations associated with familial myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukaemia", Nature Genetics, September 4th 2011.

2 Tanas, Munir R et al, "Identification of a Disease-Defining Gene Fusion in Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma", Science Translational Medicine, August 31st 2011

3 Slade, Dea, et al., "The structure and catalytic mechanism of a poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase". Nature. Sunday August 4th 2011.

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