Patient focused pull; pioneering research push

27 Oct 2020

CellCentric is excited to have formed a partnership with Prostate Cancer Research (PCR), to further understand the needs of patients that could benefit from our novel drug, CCS1477. 

Drug discovery and development is driven by two forces; the push of novel scientific understanding and the pull from the unmet needs of patients.  At best, there is clear line of sight from one to the other. 

CellCentric initially spun out of the University of Cambridge with one of the founder researchers of epigenetics, Azim Surani FRS CBE.  The company has gone on to investigate over 50 epigenetic-related targets and pathways, and their potential role in altering cell fate and disease progression.  The company pivoted to cancer drug discovery, working on a number of new targets, before prioritising the potential of inhibiting twin histone acetyltransferases (HATs), p300/CBP. 

When we established the company we did not know where the science would lead.  The decision to focus on p300/CBP was driven by three aspects:

·    a good understanding of the biology of the HATs and their role as transcription factor co-activators;

·    being able to develop a potent, specific inhibitor to their conserved bromodomain;

·    seeing that the mechanism of action of inhibition translates directly to impacting specific cancer types.  

CCS1477 is now in clinical trials, the first p300/CBP inhibitor to be used to treat cancer patients; late stage prostate cancer, haematological malignancies and tumours with specific molecular drivers. 

Having initially been driven from the push of pioneering epigenetic-related research, CellCentric now in collaboration with PCR, is hugely motivated to learn more from the patient perspective. This is both in broad terms, what matters most to men with prostate cancer, but also to understand more about their treatment experiences and what impacts them day to day. These insights may help inform how we conduct our clinical trials or even product development itself; for instance as we investigate optimal doses and schedules.

We are delighted to provide an educational grant to help PCR gather further patient experience data, and also to collaborate on new and additional areas of questioning, particularly for those taking new experimental medicines.

Being patient-oriented is important for the CellCentric team, it keeps everyone focused on what we are doing and why we do it, now we have transitioned from research to clinical development.  Having a deeper understanding of product attributes from a patient perspective is also very helpful.  For our haematological studies, for instance, patients have provided highly positive feedback on our easy to take capsule, compared to intravenous treatments which require significant hospitalisation.  Pain of course, is another key factor significantly linked to quality of life.  Being able to impact that early and consistently is a major benefit. 

We look forward to working further with Prostate Cancer Research, as well as other bodies that represent the voices of patients; ultimately patients have to be at the heart of everything we do.