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expert reaction to phase 1 trial of new precision medicine, berzosertib, in 40 patients with cancer

A study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, looked at a new precision medicine, berzosertib, in 40 patients with cancer.


Dr Darius Widera, Associate Professor in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Reading, School of Pharmacy, said:

“This is an encouraging study providing additional evidence for the idea that blocking key players in tumour DNA repair is safe and could be used as a potent cancer treatment.

“However, as an open label phase 1 trial, this study involved only small numbers of patients and did not include a placebo control.  In contrast to phase 2 and phase 3 trials, phase 1 trails are mainly are conducted with limited number of study participants and designed and to assess the safety profile of a drug rather than its efficacy.  Therefore, it is too early to consider berzosertib a game changer in cancer treatment.

“Nevertheless, the unusually strong effects of berzosertib, especially in combination with conventional chemotherapy, give reasons to be optimistic regarding the outcomes of follow-up studies with larger patient numbers and appropriate placebo controls.”


‘Phase I trial of first-in-class ATR inhibitor M6620 (VX-970) as monotherapy or in combination with carboplatin in patients with advanced solid tumors’ by Timothy A. Yap et al. was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology at 21:00 UK time on Monday 22 June 2020.

DOI: 10.1200/JCO.19.02404


Declared interests

Dr Darius Widera: “I have no competing interests.”

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