Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) London are set to enter a partnership to merge capabilities to design new precision drugs for cancer by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI).

ICR will collaborate with the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, and Vivan Therapeutics.

The parties will merge AI, drug discovery and investigational cancer models and platforms to develop therapies that can fight drug resistance.

The research team will create small molecules that can act on weaknesses in cancers with KRAS mutations.

Vivan Therapeutics has created fruit fly models with cancer-causing gene mutations, along with a technology platform that aids in high-throughput assessment of cancer drugs.

The multi-disciplinary team will detect compounds that can significantly reduce cancer growth in chosen fly models. These will be advanced to the next drug discovery and development phase.

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ICR signal transduction and molecular pharmacology team group leader Professor Paul Workman stated: “I’m very much looking forward to working with the teams at IDIBELL and Vivan. 

“Our goal is to find safe and effective new drugs that are less likely to evoke resistance than current drugs, by targeting multiple weaknesses in cancer at once – and that ultimately benefit cancer patients by giving them new treatment options that last longer than those currently available.”

In May 2023, ICR and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust opened a joint integrated pathology unit.