Experimental Therapeutics

Researchers in this program identify molecular targets and pathways that may be used to develop the next generation of cancer therapeutics and diagnostics. They use a unique structure-based strategy developed by Dr. John Trent that can greatly accelerate the clinical testing of promising drug candidates. Traditional drug design often means random testing of hundreds — if not hundreds of thousands — of compounds. But by knowing a drug candidate’s precise structure (its shape and chemical properties), BCC scientists use a rational approach that quickly discards candidate molecules that have the wrong shape or properties.

This approach has contributed significantly to the BCC’s emergence as a leader in experimental therapeutics research. Important advances to date include:

  • Two novel drugs that have successfully “graduated” from preclinical tests in animal models to clinical trials in humans (AS1411 and PFK-158)
  • Two novel drugs that are now licensed by the pharmaceutical industry and undergoing pre-clinical FDA evaluation for phase I trials (CKa15 and PU27)
  • The first demonstration that advanced-stage cervical cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer can be detected with a single drop of blood in an assay called a plasma thermogram
  • Exciting evidence that the presence of specific compounds called carbonyls in exhaled breath can be used to diagnose early-stage lung cancers

Researchers focused on Experimental Therapeutics and Diagnostics include: