A new drug for treating a previously-untreatable type of children brain cancer has been discovered, as reported by a study led by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.
The drug works on reducing the size of tumors and killing brain cells with mutations in the ACVR1 gene found in the deadly childhood brain cancer diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).
“It’s simply not good enough that we can cure some cancers, but in others we have seen no progress in decades. We owe it to children and their families to do better,” a researcher at the ICR, professor Chris Jones, said.
The study was conducted on mice where they discovered that the potential new drugs halted ACVR1 activity, shrunk tumors and extended survival by 25 per cent (from 67 to 82 days).
Children with DIPG usually live only between nine and 12 months after being diagnosed with the disease, knowing that the tumors cannot be removed by surgery and chemotherapy does not work.
Clinical trials of ACVR1 inhibitor drugs on children with brain cancer are expected to begin in 2021.