Breast cancer drug hope

A drug for breast cancer that is more effective than existing medicines may be a step closer thanks to new research.

Scientists have identified a chemical compound that is highly effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.

The compound – called eCF506 – targets a molecule called Src tyrosine kinase that is required for breast cancer cells to grow and spread.


Drugs that target the same molecule are already being tested in clinical trials. Researchers say eCF506 is different because it is more selective and doesn’t affect other molecules in the cell.

This may mean it will be more effective and have fewer side effects than the other drugs in development but further studies are needed, researchers say.

This candidate drug will need to undergo further preclinical testing before it can be taken forward into clinical trials but these early findings are very promising.

Professor Neil CarragherHead of the Edinburgh Cancer Discovery Unit, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

New approach

The study identified the compound using a pioneering approach that uses imaging techniques to directly visualise the effects of candidate drugs on cells.

The team from the University of Edinburgh says the discovery proves that this approach offers a powerful and cost-effective method of discovering new medicines for cancer and other diseases.

The result provides further support for our new drug discovery approach which aims to deliver more effective medicines at reduced costs for patients and healthcare providers.

Professor Neil CarragherHead of the Edinburgh Cancer Discovery Unit, Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre


The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, was funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the commercialisation catalyst Sunergos Innovations.

eCF506 is the first drug candidate of a second generation of Src inhibitors that will not only help to understand the complexity of some cancers but also the development of safer combination therapies.

Dr Asier Unciti-BrocetaCancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

Related links

Journal article

Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre

Edinburgh Medical School