World’s first ‘Darwinian’ cancer drug programme to launch in London

World’s first ‘Darwinian’ cancer drug programme to launch in London
Artist's interpretation of the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery (credit: ICR)

A new state-of-the-art building in London is set to house the world’s first ‘Darwinian’ drug discovery programme specially designed to tackle cancer’s ability to evolve resistance to treatment.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is to invest an initial £75 million in creating a global centre of expertise in anti-evolution therapies – which hold the promise of outsmarting cancer to improve cure rates.

Cancer’s ability to constantly adapt, evolve and develop drug resistance is what makes it so lethal – causing the vast majority of cancer deaths.

But ICR scientists aim to harness evolutionary science within a new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery to ‘herd’ cancers with anti-evolution drugs and combinations. They believe this new approach can deliver long-term control and effective cures, just as comparable approaches have with HIV.

Senior scientists at the ICR argue that the traditional use of ‘shock and awe’ chemotherapy against cancer has failed because too often it has helped fuel ‘survival of the nastiest’ competition and evolution among cancer cells.

The new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery will instead bring together world-leading researchers from very different disciplines across drug discovery and evolutionary science under one roof to create new resistance-busting treatments – coming together with the joint aim to overcome or redirect the whole process of cancer evolution.

The ICR is seeking a further £15 million from philanthropic donations to complete the new building and equip it with state-of-the-art instruments and computational technologies.

You can help support the building by clicking here.