Cancer Therapeutics CRC and QIMR Collaborate to Discover and Develop Novel Drugs for Cancer Treatment
News Dec 20, 2007
Cancer Therapeutics CRC Pty Ltd and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) have announced a collaboration to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment of many forms of cancer, based on exciting new findings in the field of DNA repair.
Drs Kum Kum Khanna and Derek Richard in the Cancer and Cell Biology Division at QIMR have discovered a new protein target that is critical to the genetic repair processes that promote cancer cell survival and keep them replicating.
By discovering small molecules that inhibit this protein, Cancer Therapeutics CRC hopes to develop novel drugs that may stop cancers from growing and promote cancer cell death. If successful, such drugs against this target could be a major step forward in the treatment of a whole range of different cancers.
Although this collaboration is at a very early stage, and the prospect of developing a drug based on this research is far from certain, it is very encouraging that this type of collaborative commercialization of academic research in Australia is beginning to flourish.
Indeed, it is this type of collaboration, between one of Australia's leading research institutes, QIMR, and Cancer Therapeutics CRC, which is the primary reason for the establishment of Cancer Therapeutics CRC: that of linking Australia's reputation in leading edge biological research with the development of new drugs and treatments for cancer patients on a worldwide basis.
Dr Julian Clark, Melbourne-based CEO of Cancer Therapeutics CRC, says, "We are delighted to be collaborating with QIMR on this exciting project so early in the life of Cancer Therapeutics CRC. This collaboration, with one of the leading research institutes in Australia, is the first project outside of our initial 'core' of participants.
It demonstrates the attractiveness of our comprehensive drug discovery and development capabilities and our ability to work with leading researchers such as Drs. Khanna and Richard at QIMR to bring their ideas into the world of cancer drug development.
We expect that such collaborations between biological researchers and our drug developers can make a real impact on the treatment of cancer".
Dr Kum Kum Khanna commented that the biology of the molecule that has been discovered appears to make it an extremely valuable target for therapeutic intervention. Dr Khanna continues: "We are delighted to collaborate with Cancer Therapeutics CRC to translate our laboratory based findings into drug candidates for the clinic."
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.