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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Cancer drug success rising

19th November 2008

Cancer Research UK has said that more successful drugs will be available for patients as cancer drug research enters a new era.

The charity’s experts say that improved knowledge of cancer's biology means 18% of new drugs, compared with 5% previously, will become standard treatments.

But, following findings published in the journal Nature Review Drug Discovery, it has also urged pharmaceutical firms and academics to be more transparent about drugs which are not successful.

Cancer Research UK acknowledges that many drugs often fall by the wayside but it believes scientists can learn lessons even from expensive failures.

Figures suggest that as few as 5% of cancer drugs being developed are eventually on daily use in clinics.

But data gathered by the charity on 974 drugs under development, suggests that 18% of them will prove successful in clinical trials with the hope that many will offer alternatives to conventional chemotherapy which can have unpleasant side effects.

Dr Ian Walker, the licensing manager at the charity's commercial development arm, said: "This clearly demonstrates the benefits of developing molecularly targeted treatments for cancer - understanding more about the basic biology of cancer is making a real difference to the success rate for new anti-cancer drug development."

Professor Herbie Newell from Cancer Research UK said it was important to try to minimise the number of failures and share information.

"The sharing of such information can only be beneficial for clinical, scientific and commercial reasons - and will help measure our progress as well as pinpoint areas for improvement," he said.


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