AZD1775 is a part of the firm’s DNA Damage Response compounds portfolio and is being developed as a potent inhibitor of the WEE1 protein that regulates cell cycles.
The trial is being conducted through Combinations Alliance, a joint initiative by Cancer Research UK and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) Network.
It will assess the safety and effectiveness of AZD1775 to minimise the risk of cancer recurrence when combined with cisplatin chemotherapy before surgery, and with cisplatin chemotherapy and radiotherapy after surgery.
In addition, the Phase I trial aims to determine if the pre-surgery combination would reduce the need for further therapy following surgery.
At the University of Birmingham, one group of up to 21 subjects will be administered with pre-surgery combination, while another group will receive the post-surgery combination.
The trial is designed to enrol patients aged 18-70 who are suffering from mouth, throat and voice box cancer and are yet to undergo surgery.
Trial chief investigator and University of Birmingham Institute of Cancer and Genomic Studies professor Hisham Mehanna said: “Many patients diagnosed with aggressive types of head and neck cancer are at a high risk of relapse after surgery, so we urgently need to find new ways to treat the disease and reduce the risk of it returning.
“We hope that combining this drug with chemotherapy will mean that treatment is more effective helping more people survive, and that those cured will have a better quality of life after treatment.”