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Life Sciences Discovery Fund Awards $2.2 Million to Support New Solid-Tumor Research Program
Date:4/17/2008

SEATTLE, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The state's Life Sciences Discovery fund has awarded $2.2 million to establish a formal phase 1 clinical-trials program to test new therapies for solid tumors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Announced this evening, the grant is among the first funded by Washington's $350 million tobacco-lawsuit-settlement bonus.

Developing novel therapies targeted to treat solid tumors, in collaboration with local biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, is the goal of the Hutchinson Center/University of Washington Cancer Consortium. Phase 1 trials are by definition the first testing of cancer therapies in humans. The purpose is to determine whether and how a drug works.

Traditionally, phase 1 studies have been primarily concerned with drug safety. However, with the increased knowledge of the molecular pathways involved in cancer development, an ever-increasing proportion of drugs initially tested in humans prove to be effective, even in the first patients treated.

"Phase 1 trials are critically important, require a high level of unique competencies and, if done correctly, can substantially speed the development of new therapies," said Martin (Mac) Cheever, M.D., director of solid-tumor research at the Hutchinson Center. "This is an outcome that can benefit the state's patients, industry and health care enterprises."

Initially, the program will use the funding to develop a highly efficient infrastructure for implementing early phase -- primarily industry sponsored -- cancer clinical trials, and to provide exploratory funds that will allow Consortium researchers to apply their expertise in cancer imaging and biomarkers to cancer drug development.

The program will be led by John Thompson, M.D., as director of the Consortium phase 1 program. Thompson will be responsible for scientific direction and facilitating new industry and other trial sponsorships.

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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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