A new drug, known as IP1867B, could be used for future treatments of brain tumours.


Dr Richard Hill, led the research team at the Brain Tumour Research Centre at University of Portsmouth, working with the University of Algarve (Portugal), the University of Liverpool (UK) and Innovate Pharmaceuticals to examine IP1867B.

The research team showed that IP1867B worked with existing cancer treatments boosting their effectiveness and, in some cases, restored sensitivity to some treatments.

The success rate for cancer therapies has been limited due to a combination of factors, such as the tumour’s ability to hide from and develop resistance to the treatment; excessive side effects; the treatment not being clinically effective; and the lack of penetration through the blood brain barrier – IP1867B was shown to be effective at avoiding all of these limiting factors.

In a new study, published in the journal Cancer Letters, IP1867B (which is a combination of three common ingredients – aspirin, triacetin and saccharin) was shown to reduce the size of adult high-grade glioma brain tumours in a mouse model, while reducing the gastrointestinal tract problems experienced when conventional aspirin tablets are taken. This research suggests that IP1867B could be effective against glioblastoma (GBM), one of the most aggressive forms of human brain cancer, which kills thousands of patients within a year.

Dr Hill said: “To produce a completely new drug takes many years and is very expensive. By focusing our efforts on testing novel formulation techniques, we can move closer to a treatment more quickly than would otherwise be possible.

“We will continue to urgently investigate which drugs will combine most effectively and safely with IP1867B, to improve these results even further and reduce the need for long-term use. There is still much work to be done, but many reasons to be excited for future studies.”

The breakthrough came in laboratory tests in mice using cancer cells from adults with brain tumours. In all the variations of drugs tested, including separating out the three key components of IP1867B, it was considerably more effective than any combination of other components and some currently used chemotherapeutics. All three ingredients, which are already approved for use in the clinic, have been shown to kill tumour cells without having an effect on normal brain cells.

IP1867B was shown to reduce the action of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), and block the Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 pathway thereby reducing the tumour’s ability to acquire resistance to these EGFR inhibitors. Tumours acquiring resistance to EGFR inhibitors via this pathway is a significant problem for these treatments.

IP1867B effects multiple targets, helping to ‘light up’ the tumour and reverse acquired resistance.

Katie Sheen, Research Manager at Brain Tumour Research, which funds the University of Portsmouth research group, added: “Our work on combining drugs is a vital and key part of our ongoing developments in the fight against brain tumours, which are an incredibly complex form of cancer. Being able to take existing drugs that have already been approved for use in humans, developing them in novel ways and applying them in the treatment of brain tumours offers much hope for the future.”

Dr James Stuart, Medical Director at Innovate Pharmaceuticals, commented: “Our work on multiple disease areas in the cancer field has shown that hitting a number of targets with IP1867B allows us to not only shrink tumours but unmask them allowing other therapies to attack them. This action of ‘turning cold tumours hot’ alongside the reversal of acquired resistance, boosting combination efficacy and a possible lowering of side effect burden makes IP1867B a true breakthrough in cancer treatment.

“The next step is to take IP1867B into ‘first in human’ trial. Innovate are actively driving this next stage of development.”

Notes for editors:

1. A copy of the paper ‘IP1867B suppresses the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) ablating epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor resistance in adult high grade gliomas’ is available from the Press and Media team on request.

2. The attached images show Dr Richard Hill and a vial of IP1867B.

Dr Richard Hill

Vial of IP1867 B

3. Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.

We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.

We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years.

However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.

We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the ground-breaking research needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.

aThe Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT) which published its report Brain Tumours A cost too much to bear? in 2018. Led by the charity, the report examines the economic and social impacts of a brain tumour diagnosis.

We are also a lead player on the Steering Group for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.

Key statistics on brain tumours:

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers

Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.

4. Innovate Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Innovate) is a research-based development stage pharmaceutical company that discovers and develops innovative medicines. We leverage our proprietary supra-molecular chemistry platform for the discovery and design of novel treatments in areas of unmet need.

5. The University of Portsmouth is a progressive and dynamic university with an outstanding reputation for innovative teaching and globally significant research and innovation.

It was rated ‘Gold’ in the UK government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and was ranked in the top 150 under 50 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings. The University is also 21st in the Guardian’s 2020 league table and was ranked number one in the UK for boosting graduate salaries according to The Economist.

The University’s research and innovation culture is impacting lives today and in the future and addressing local, national and global challenges across science, technology, humanities, business and creative industries. http://www.port.ac.uk/

Source: Glenn Harris

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