Cleveland Clinic has been selected to participate in the Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC), the discovery engine of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Experimental Therapeutics (NExT) Program, administered through the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR), a federal national laboratory sponsored by the NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, and currently operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.
As part of the CBC, academic, nonprofit research organizations and companies across the country offer technology, staffing and expertise to move projects through the NExT Program’s therapeutics pipeline, designed to accelerate cancer therapeutic discoveries. The CBC provides support for early-stage drug discovery activities for small-molecule therapies, which target the disease on a molecular level.
Accelerating the development of targeted therapies provides more options and personalized treatment options for patients with cancer. Membership in the CBC positions Cleveland Clinic on the forefront of cancer drug discovery efforts and region to support promising projects and connect with other top-tier research institutions.
Membership in the CBC is a milestone for Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Therapeutic Discovery (C3TD), which already partners with researchers throughout the enterprise to support projects spanning oncology, neurology and eye, inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. C3TD will contribute expertise in medicinal chemistry, protein and structural science, chemical biology, and compound screening.
“It’s going to bring visibility to our center as a recognized top-tier medicinal chemistry, screening and structural biology program in general, but especially in cancer drug discovery,” says Shaun Stauffer, Ph.D., Director of C3TD. “Prior to 2018 the center didn’t exist. To build the group and receive this kind of national recognition is an honor for our team.”
Cleveland Clinic was selected through a competitive process, demonstrating a proven track record on supporting early stage probe and drug discovery efforts, as well as the capacity and capability to take on additional NCI projects. Cleveland Clinic is now one of 18 institutes in the CBC.
“Providing the resources needed to develop research into new, life-saving therapies is essential for moving cancer treatment forward,” says Alex A. Adjei, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. “Participating in the CBC is yet another way Cleveland Clinic demonstrates our leadership in studying cutting-edge cancer care.”
Along with attracting funding through the CBC, Cleveland Clinic researchers and C3TD staff members will benefit from sharing best practices and working together to tackle complex problems in cancer treatment, Dr. Stauffer says.
“We are at a pivotal moment in cancer research, leading to more options than ever in cancer care,” says Serpil Erzurum, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Research and Academic Officer. “Personalized medicine, which was once a hope and dream for many researchers and clinicians, is becoming a reality. Accelerating the pace of drug discovery is one of the ways we will continue to advance the field of cancer research at Cleveland Clinic.”
This is not the first federal recognition the C3TD earned this year. Dr. Stauffer and Jae Jung, Ph.D., Director of the Global Center for Pathogen & Human Health Research, received $3.28 million from a nationwide National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) initiative for projects targeting viruses with high pandemic potential.