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Vanderbilt joins national consortium to develop new cancer therapies
Date:8/19/2009

of interest is in screening and developing natural products as potential drug candidates.

This "is something that pharmaceutical industry has de-emphasized just because of the way things have evolved," said Sulikowski. "And that's one of our advantages, in that we have expertise in natural products as well as medicinal chemistry."

Cancer drug development poses many challenges but also unique opportunities.

"There is a difficulty in that cancer is not a single disease; it's a family of loosely related diseases," said Waterson. "There's an opportunity for a whole myriad of different treatments that are pretty much only tailored to a small subset of people, where your treatment addresses their specific need."

A unique aspect of the CBC is the NCI's efforts to establish intellectual property rights for investigators and institutions that develop assays or drug candidates.

"The hope is that by recognizing establishment of intellectual property as one of the goals, they will attract people with the best ideas, things that really might be able to become a drug," said Waterson.

Vanderbilt's involvement with the CBC, along with the recent arrival of Stephen Fesik, Ph.D., who previously led cancer drug discovery efforts at Abbott Laboratories, will make Vanderbilt "one of the best academic institutions doing cancer drug discovery in the country," Marnett said.

Other Vanderbilt investigators involved in this effort include:

  • Brian Bachmann, Ph.D., assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Jeffrey Johnston, Ph.D., professor of Chemistry
  • Jens Meiler, Ph.D., assistant professor of Chemistry, Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics
  • Craig Lindsley, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry, and director of Medicinal Chemistry

Other sites participating in the CBC are:

  • The Burnham Institute for Medical Research, in La Jolla, Calif.;
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Contact: Melissa Marino
melissa.marino@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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