2013 International Relationship Fund: China-NZ collaborative project

Professor Jeffrey Smaill
University of Auckland
Funder(s): Health Research Council of New Zealand
Tumour-targeted FGFR therapeutics for smoking-related lung cancer
$399,897
36 months

Lay summary

The majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking and available treatments do little to improve survival. For the first time, a gene ‘driving’  smoking-induced lung cancer has been identified, encoding a receptor family called FGFR. Unfortunately new drugs designed to block FGFR have displayed severe side effects, due to blockade of the receptor’s many functions in normal healthy tissues. We have invented a ‘stealth’ drug technology that increases the delivery of active drugs to tumours, whilst sparing normal tissues. PR610, the first example of this technology targeting the related EGF receptor, entered clinical trials in NZ and the USA in 2012. We plan to expand our collaboration with a leading CAS institute in China (GIBH) to accelerate development of new FGFR inhibitors suitable for use with our proprietary technology. This will provide new targeted FGFR drugs that should be much more effective for treating smoking-related lung cancers.

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