• Question: is making drugs for cancer hard

    Asked by EvieParker to Steve, Jenny, Hannah on 17 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Jenny Batson

      Jenny Batson answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      Hi Evie
      Yes it is quite hard because there are so many challenges to overcome. You have to find a good target and find a drug candidate. Then optimise the drug candidate into a lead drug which does what you want it to do (e.g. kill the cancer cells) without having unwanted effects (e.g. killing all cells) and with the right properties so it doesnt get broken down in the body immediately. Then you have to find the right patients and make sure it is really safe. However, we know that it is hard so we can break it down into small challenges which are easier to achieve, then it feels good when we achieve a small thing and they all add up to hopefully make a good drug!

    • Photo: Steven Street

      Steven Street answered on 18 Nov 2016:

      Hi EvieParker,

      Yes it is! As Jenny said, there are so many challenges!

      Finding the right target, making the right molecules to bind to the target, optimising the molecules so that they go to the right place and don’t do anything bad, then it has to pass clinical trials, where there are roughly 10,000 failures for every success!

      I’m just involved with making the drugs, and testing / optimising them, and that’s hard!