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Sanford-Burnham collaborates with 5 Florida-based research organizations
Date:4/2/2013

ORLANDO, Fla., April 2, 2013Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona (Sanford-Burnham) announced the selection of the first five research organizations that will participate in the Florida Translational Research Program (FTRP) to advance drug discovery in the state. The projects focus on cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and are led by scientists from the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, Scripps Florida, and Sanford-Burnham. The Program provides Florida-based scientists with access to drug discovery expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure at Sanford-Burnham.

"We fielded approximately 50 specific inquiries for the program and received a total of 15 valid applications for five project slots," said Layton Smith, Ph.D., director of Drug Discovery Florida at Sanford-Burnham, who oversees the program. "We selected these projects based on scientific merit, technical feasibility, and potential for commercialization. Work on the first collaboration began in February and we expect to complete all projects by the end of the year."

Toward new cancer therapeutics

Three of the projects focus on discovering new treatments for cancer and other tumors. Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at the University of Miami are trying to find chemical compounds that stop MLL3, a protein that plays a central role in the development of several leukemias, as well as breast and colon cancers. Researchers led by Daiqing Liao, Ph.D., at the University of Florida have shown that a novel drug target for cancer, acetyltransferase p300, is a master regulator of cancer-cell survival. Novel inhibitors of p300 are thus expected to prevent the development of tumors in a variety of cancers. Cristina Fernandez-Valle, Ph.D., at the University of Central Florida and her team seek compounds that block the protein merlin, which has a similar function as p300.

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Contact: Deborah Robison
drobison@sanfordburnham.org
407-795-2073
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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