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A new cancer drug called Berzosertib was tested and showed promise to halt the growth of tumors, especially when used alongside chemotherapy 

PHOTO CREDITS: THE TIMES

According to BBC, a new cancer drug called Berzosertib was tested and showed promise to halt the growth of tumors. The trial was run by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Trust, and more than half of the forty patients who were given Berzosertib had the growth of their tumors halted. The trial was a phase one trial – meaning it was only designed to test the safety of the treatment – and according to Prof Chris Lord, a professor of cancer genomics at the ICR, these early signs were “very promising”, adding that it was unusual in phase one trials to see a clinical response (BBC). ~

Berzosertib is the first of its kind to be trialed, as it is designed to block the protein involved in DNA repair. Blocking this protein prevents cancers from mending damage to their cells. Berzosertib is part of a branch of treatment known as precision medicine, which targets specific genes or genetic changes. In addition to its individual success, Berzosertib was even more effective when given alongside chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works by damaging cancer cells’ DNA, so using it in conjunction with this new treatment, which stops the cells from repairing themselves, appears to give an even greater benefit (Knowledia). One patient in the trial with advanced bowel cancer had his tumors completely disappear after treatment with Berzosertib and chemotherapy. Another, whose ovarian cancer returned following a different course of treatment, saw her tumors shrink after combination treatment with the drug and chemotherapy. ~

Dr. Darius Widera at the University of Reading, speaking on the study’s results, said, “This study involved only small numbers of patients…Therefore, it is too early to consider Berzosertib a game-changer in cancer treatment. Nevertheless, the unusually strong effects of Berzosertib, especially in combination with conventional chemotherapy, give reasons to be optimistic regarding the outcomes of follow-up studies” (Head Topics). In the future, drugs such as Berzosertib may be able to not only boost the effects of treatments such as chemotherapy, but also allow for less aggressive treatments for cancers as opposed to chemotherapy. ~

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