Drug redeployment may help beat cancer [+video]
Drug redeployment strategies will lead to the discovery of novel therapies which can beat haematological cancers, a senior researcher at the University of Birmingham has said.
Using off-patent drugs to provide affordable therapies, Dr Farhat Khanim’s research aims to find drugs which have minimal toxicities and are effective against treating the blood cancers without harming normal cells.
In an interview with The Information Daily at Science Capital’s Innovative Healthcare meeting in Birmingham, Dr Khanim explains “Our goal is really quite simple, it’s to find new therapies for cancers which currently don’t have sufficient good response rates.”
“We use a slightly different approach which is we try to see whether there are drugs in our pharmacies which might be affected against blood cancers.”
She said “The drive of our research is really to find drugs which we think are effective, hopefully which have minimal toxicities but are effectve against treating the blood cancers but don’t harm the normal cells.”
“Hopefully we can treat patients who are currently ineligible for intensive chemotherapy or come from backgrounds where they can’t afford intensive chemotherapy,” she said.
“Cancer is a very clever beast,” she said, highlighting how important it was to also “understand how the drugs work” in order to find effective anti-cancer therapies.
Dr Khanim said that working with elderly patients and “trying to find drugs which aren’t going to make them sick in the first place whilst also treating their cancers” is her biggest challenge yet.
Speaking at the event hosted by Science Capital, an independent organisation which offers a space for scientists and innovators to find the right connections to effectively commercialise their work, Dr Khanim explains how necessary it is to speak to a range of experts.
“For us to be able to take our concepts from the lab right through to the clinic and then to delivery them on a much greater scale, we need input from business people, input from pharmaceutical companies, and we need input from legislators who understand the IP landscape regarding the re-use of drugs in new settings.”
She finishes “We are currently in the next stages of clinical trials which is to take them to treating greater number of patients but also trying to find the optimal dose of the drugs to use.”