UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has launched a Center for Experimental Therapeutics in Cancer to advance cancer care by speeding promising cancer therapies from the lab to the bedside. The goal is to facilitate the commercialization of promising drugs emerging from UC Davis laboratories by establishing a hub for the development of startups and the acquisition of small business grant funding from the National Cancer Institute.
Cancer center scientists Kit S. Lam and David R. Gandara are co-leaders of the new center.
“We see the Center for Experimental Therapeutics in Cancer as an incubator for bringing multidisciplinary teams from throughout UC Davis together with biotech and pharmaceutical companies working hard to move anti-cancer agents through the drug development pipeline, from start to finish,” Lam said.
The idea is to advance more effective, less toxic cancer therapies to meet the demand for precision medicine. These treatments target individual patients with care customized to specific cancer biomarkers, using the latest biological therapies and drug agents.
“The next frontier has arrived, and we are poised to accelerate the discovery of novel cancer treatments based on a genetic understanding of a patient’s cancer,” said UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara Jr. “Rather than a one-drug-fits-all approach, precision medicine is leveraging novel pathways, biomarkers and other discoveries, which we want to coordinate through this new center, designed to translate research quickly into clinical settings.”
The center will facilitate close collaboration with basic researchers, clinicians and translational scientists, including launching clinical trials to evaluate these newly identified anti-cancer agents. Researchers will work with pharma and biotech companies, venture capitalists, nonprofit foundations and academia, as well as the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute.
In addition to rendering scientific and technical assistance, the Center for Experimental Therapeutics in Cancer will offer support for drug development by means of the Food and Drug Administration’s Investigational New Drug application process. The new center additionally will facilitate communication with UC Davis experts in intellectual property, licensing and patents.
“We also want to ensure ongoing educational opportunities such as workshops and symposiums in addition to helping advance the careers of researchers who come from underserved communities,” Gandara said. “We are committed to working with our Office of Community Outreach and Engagement to ensure that the research taking place also addresses cancer health disparities in our region.”