AI-powered cancer simulations enable drug targeting


Cancer Research Horizons and biotech company Turbine have announced a partnership to solve complex diseases.  

The partnership will utilise Turbine’s Simulated Cells platform to identify target patient populations who could benefit from CDC7 inhibitor therapy with Cancer Research Horizons’ lead compound CRT’2199.  

CRT’2199 originates from Cancer Research Horizons’ Therapeutic Innovation. CDC7 is a protein which plays a vital role in the regulation of cell division in normal cells. However, dysregulation of CDC7 can lead to the formation of cancer cells, and overexpression of this protein is correlated with poor clinical prognosis in diverse cancers of significant unmet patient need.  

Despite its role in the progression and outcome in many cancers, no CDC7 inhibitors have progressed to Phase III trials, and a clear picture is lacking on what types of cancer could be effectively and safely treated by inhibiting CDC7. 

Tony Hickson, Chief Business Officer for Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Horizons, said: “We know that CDC7 inhibitors hold enormous potential as a class of anti-cancer therapeutics, but the problem so far has been finding the right patients who could benefit from them.  

“This is why we are excited to be partnering with Turbine to develop novel patient selection strategies for our CDC7 inhibitor compounds. Bolstered by Turbine’s unique capabilities, we hope to gain novel insights into the activity of these drug candidates, bringing closer the day when we could see them reach the clinic to benefit patients who need them.” 

Digital versions of cancer cells

Using Turbine’s AI powered-simulation approach, the researchers will inhibit CDC7 in digital cancer cells that represent different patient populations, to determine which cancer types and patient populations are most likely to respond to treatment with CRT’2199.  

Turbine’s Simulated Cell technology uses machine learning to train digital versions of cancer cells to behave in the same way that real cancer cells would, enabling simulations to show how cancer cells react to different triggers, such as transcriptomic changes and anticancer drugs. 

Turbine will receive a revenue share of Cancer Research Horizon’s future revenues from the CDC7 inhibitor program upon successful commercialisation in exchange for identifying and validating a disease positioning strategy. 

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